The focus of this paper is on the management and governance of education at provincial level – specifically on efforts to introduce performance management into education by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), and their impact.
Post-1994 the WCED inherited a bureaucracy that was well placed to manage the province’s large public education system. Subsequently, irrespective of which political party has been in power, the WCED consistently has sought to implement performance management. This paper explores to what extent determined, top-down efforts, led by the public sector, can improve dismal educational performance.
The paper concludes that the WCED is (and long has been) a relatively well-run public bureaucracy. However, the sustained, determined efforts to strengthen the operation of the WCED’s bureaucracy have not translated into systematic improvements in schools in poorer areas. One possible implication is that efforts to strengthen hierarchy might usefully be complemented with additional effort to support more horizontal, peer-to-peer governance at the school level.
This working paper received financial support from the Department for International Development’s Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre
Cameron, R.; Levy, B.; The potential and limits of performance management: Improving basic education in the Western Cape. ESID Working Paper No. 62. Manchester, UK: The University of Manchester.(2016)