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Master's Professional Reports Abstract



Public Education in South Africa: Reorganization and Reallocation
Treviso, Paulina Manuela.
REPORT 1999 T7295 Public Affairs Library

This paper presents a critical look at how educational resource allocation and the education bureaucracy contributed to an inequitable education system for black South Africans during apartheid, and how current policies are fundamentally changing these two aspects of the system. Apartheid education policies negatively affected other minority groups such as Asians and coloreds, and the white children who were not taught to recognize the unfairness of the system. This paper, however, does not focus on all groups and does not attempt to present a report card or progress report on the state of national reform in the area of education. The focus of the research is on the reorganization of the education bureaucracy for the entire country, and on the reallocation of resources for primary and secondary education, the U.S. equivalent of the elementary, junior high and high school grade levels.

In addition to analyzing the reallocation of resources and the reorganizations of the education bureaucracy, this paper reveals the consequences of an inferior education system upon South African society as whole and in particular for the black South African majority. As noted by a headmaster at a private secondary school in Johannesburg in 1978,

...school principals and teachers within the privileged white systems are generally compelled by their employers, and through social pressure, to refrain from public criticism of a set of school systems which allocate resources on an inequitable basis to the different racial groups, and which in the long run, work neither in the interest of black nor white South Africans. Nor have the long-term interests of our developing society been served by the systematic harassment of many black principals and teachers, through interrogation and detention, which has also deprived black schools of many of their most competent professional leaders.

Chapter two provides a brief overview of South Africa's demographic composition, political system, and national economy, with chapter three providing a short history of the education system. A profile of the current education system is presented in chapter four, with a discussion of the national government's legislative and policy efforts. The challenges of addressing reallocation and reorganization are examined in chapter five, and an analysis reform in these two issue areas is found in chapter six. Throughout this paper the author primarily uses the term "black South Africans" unless quoting from a source that uses a different term such as "Africans" or "natives," but will sometimes use the term "blacks" if a comparison is being made to whites.

--From the author's introduction.