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The impact of the no-fee school policy on enrolment and school performance: Evidence from NIDS Waves 1-3

Nicola Branson and David Lam ()

No 197, SALDRU Working Papers from Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town

Abstract: Post-apartheid education funding is designed to redress past inequalities in funding and, in doing so, work towards providing all learners with high quality education (Schools Act, 1996). In August 2006, new National Norms and Standards for Funding were established and the rollout of a no-fee program initiated. The program abolishes compulsory school fees in schools in the least socioeconomically advantaged sections of society. From 2007, the Minister of Education began declaring certain public ordinary schools to be no-fee schools, with additional schools added each year, such that by 2011 over 80% of all public schools were declared no-fee schools. The rollout coincides with the first three waves of the National Income Dynamics Study. We geo-link each respondent's location in 2007 to administrative school data and combine differences in distance to a no-fee high school in 2007 with differences across cohorts that result from the timing of the program rollout. We find no discernable impact of the program on enrolment at 16, 17, 18 or 19 or on educational attainment and completion of secondary school by age 20.

Keywords: no-fee school policy; Post-apartheid education; National Income Dynamics Study; South Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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