The poor performance of South Africa’s public schooling system is well documented. Perhaps the most startling one-line take-out from a study that captures the essence of the problem is this: 78% of South African Grade 4 children can’t read for meaning in any language (PIRLS Literacy study 2016). The impact on the future of every child, and on South Africa’s prospects more broadly are clear. South African companies contribute collectively about R10bn per year towards basic education in the hope of changing this picture (government’s basic education budget is about R262 billion). Bringing about systemic change to improve the performance of the whole system is what many in government, academia, foundations and funders have been working towards since 1994 – some independently and some collectively.
We work with CSI funders who have millions – rather than billions – to spend; but who are committed to achieving impact in the education system.
Investments in after school centres
Schools are under pressure to deliver the curriculum, and many education districts discourage schools from taking part in donor-funded programmes that distract from or add to their work. Investing in after-school programmes supplements – but doesn’t interfere with – the school day. It ticks many boxes.
Investments in research to inform the broader education system
Investing in research that informs and inspires a better education system is one of the ways that a CSI funder with a modest budget can impact systemwide. We influence funding and policy decisions by framing the most appropriate questions; commissioning research that digs deep and wide to find the answers; and informing and influencing funders and programme managers across the education sector.
See our latest literature review that informs funders and programme managers working towards improving intermediate phase maths across the sector.