Book Launch on School Governance

29 Oct 2018 - 13:30

UCT’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, and the Poverty and Inequality Initiative invite you to a public lecture on Improving learning outcomes in South African education: the governance dimension

A discussion launching The Politics and Governance of Basic Education: A Tale of Two South African Provinces (OUP, 2018) by Brian Levy, Robert Cameron, Vinothan Naidoo and Ursula Hoadley.


The world over, access to education has increased but quality remains low.  This new book explores at multiple levels (national, provincial, and school)  how politics and institutions have  influenced South Africa’s educational outcomes. Through a contrast of the performance of the  Western Cape and Eastern Cape, it finds that there are limits to what can be achieved through bureaucratic reform. This is in part because bureaucracy and politics are intertwined, so the former cannot be strengthened  without a prior transformation of the latter -  and in part because even effective bureaucracies are not well-placed to undertake some key school-level motivational, informational and accountability functions. The school-level research  provides new insight on  the potential and limits of participatory governance -  both as a complement to bureaucracy, and as a substitute when bureaucracy is weak. Comparison of the South African experience with that of other countries (notably including Kenya) points to the potential of giving heightened attention to  the evocation of  ‘agency’ among multiple stakeholders at multiple levels– a vision, one might say, not only of ‘education for all’, but of ‘all for education’.


Brian Levy, the lead researcher,  is Academic Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town. He worked at the World Bank from 1989 to 2012. His books include Working with the Grain: Integrating Governance and Growth in Development Strategies (Oxford University Press, 2014) and (co-edited with Sahr Kpundeh) Building State Capacity in Africa (World Bank Institute, 2004).

Robert Cameron is Professor of Public Administration in the Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town. He has published around ninety journal articles and book chapters on local government, public administration, and public service reform. He has also written one book and co-edited two books.

Ursula Hoadley is Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Cape Town. Her extensive published research explores the relation between education and social stratification, and the differential social and academic outcomes engendered through educational processes, with a focus on pedagogy, curriculum and school organisation at the primary level.

Vinothan Naidoo is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town. His research spans  various public administration subjects, including institutional co-ordination, public sector reform, political-administrative relations, and inter-governmental relations.