The when and how of leaving school: The policy implications of new evidence on secondary schooling in South Africa
Martin Gustafsson ()
No 09/2011, Working Papers from Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics
South African and international household and education datasets are analysed to characterise patterns of dropping out, grade repetition, academic under-performance and under-preparedness for post-school life in South African secondary schools. A number of measurement error problems are moreover discussed and in some cases remedied. The proportion of South African youths entering upper secondary schooling is above the trend found in comparable middle income countries, the proportion entering the last grade (Grade 12) is about average, but the proportion successfully completing secondary schooling (40%) is below average. The data suggest improving quality should be a greater planning priority than increasing enrolments. A what-if subject choice analysis using examination data moreover suggests that successful completion could be greatly enhanced by guiding students to more appropriate subject choices, possibly through a more standardised set of assessments in Grade 9. Any attempt to reduce dropping out must pay close attention to financial constraints experienced by students with respect to relatively low-cost inputs such as books. Teenage pregnancies must be reduced as these explain half of female dropping out. The quality problem in schools underlined by the fact that income returns and test score gains associated with each additional year of secondary schooling are well below those associated with a year of post-school education.
Keywords: Human capital; Unemployment; Earnings function; South Africa; Secondary schools; Examinations; Education policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E24 I28 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-edu, nep-lab and nep-ure
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (8) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2011/wp092011/wp-09-2011.pdf First version, 2011 (application/pdf)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers137
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Working Papers from Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Melt van Schoor ().