Author(s): Spaull, Nicholas
Organisation(s): Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality
Pages: 74 p.
The purpose of this report is to exploit the cross‐national comparability of the SACMEQ data, and provide a comparison of primary school performance among four southern African countries: Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. While the choice of which countries to include is somewhat arbitrary, for this study it was not feasible to compare all SACMEQ countries and to provide sufficient detail for each country. Consequently, only four SACMEQ countries were chosen. However, the four countries that were selected are, in at least three ways, logical comparators: 1) they are in close geographical proximity to each other, 2) two of the countries have similar resources (South Africa and Botswana), and 3) Two of the countries have small populations (Botswana and Namibia), while the other two have large populations (Mozambique and South Africa). The report is split into four main sections: Section 1 – Country Profiles: contextualises the country‐specific learning environment which students inhabit, and includes (for each country) a discussion of the school system, the SACMEQ III study, and basic country‐specific descriptive statistics. Section 2 – Cross‐national Comparison Issues: highlights three of the main issues surrounding cross‐ national comparisons: 1) population size, 2) resource differentials, and 3) enrolment and drop‐out rate differentials. Section 3 – Student Performance: compares student maths and reading performance by province/region , school location and socio‐economic quintile, as well as the distribution of functional illiteracy and functional innumeracy across these three categories. Section 4 – Additional Aspects of Schooling: provides basic descriptive statistics on selected measures of educational quality, including those relating to opportunity to learn (teacher absenteeism), pedagogical factors influencing performance (teacher content knowledge, textbook access, and grade repetition), and other enabling factors (preschool education, school feeding programs and child nutrition).