Play it Again Sam: Exploring grade repetition at under-performing schools in the Western Cape
This study investigates the underlying factors responsible for the poor performance of learners, which manifests in grade repetition or failure in underperforming secondary schools, despite increased funding and additional education intervention strategies. The study was undertaken at schools in the Western Cape and documents the multi-faceted socio-economic problems which contribute to dysfunctional schools and poor education outcomes, as well making recommendations to address these issues.

Principal researchers: Wynand Louw and Amiena Bayat (University of the Western Cape, Institute for Social Development)
Wynand Louw is attached to the Institute for Social Development at the School of Government at the University of the Western Cape. He teaches three Honours and Masters modules in the Institute’s multi-discipline Post Graduate Programme in Development Studies. His teaching and research interests include education, rural development and research methodology. Recently, he has also done research into rural micro financial institutions, socio economic impact of gambling, and land restitution in Cape Town.

Amiena Bayat holds an MA in Development Economics from Williams College (USA), where she graduated with distinction. She is currently a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape in the Department of Economics lecturing Development Economics. As a researcher, she specialises in the areas of education, social capital and local economic development. She has undertaken numerous assignments for national, provincial and local government and has worked as an advisor to the Western Cape Provincial Treasury on issues related to broader socioeconomic development.

Low quality education as a poverty trap in South Africa
The central question underlying the research summarised in this paper is whether the quality of education in South Africa is so low that it serves to trap children from poor communities in an ongoing cycle of poverty. The paper is divided into two main parts: The first focuses on the quality of education across the school system and draws attention to the low level of cognitive achievement demonstrated by many South African children; the second examines the impact of low quality teaching and learning on performance in the labour market.

Principal researcher: Professor Servaas van der Berg (University of Stellenbosch, Department of Economics)
Servaas van der Berg is professor of economics and National Research Foundation Research Chair in the Economics of Social Policy at the University of Stellenbosch. His research focuses on poverty and inequality. He serves on the Scientific Committee of the Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) and on the Research Committee of Umalusi; he served on the Ministerial Committee for Learner Retention, and was the first African researcher to be elected as a fellow of the International Academy of Education. He has acted as consultant to many government departments, the World Bank, UNICEF and education ministries of some neighbouring countries.