A Report on Mining Investments and Education Outcomes in South Africa

May 13, 2014

Neissan BesharatiJohannesburg, South AfricaNeissan Besharati, a former fellow from the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Program, will present a study jointly undertaken by Anglo Platinum, the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), Umalusi (Council for Assurance for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education), and the University of Witswatersrand School of Government on the impact of mining investments on education outcomes in South Africa.

The report notes that mining is a major engine of South Africa’s economy, producing exports and generating employment for many South Africans. It is, however, highly dependent on skilled labor, engineers and technicians who are drawn from the limited pool of graduates emerging from the South African schooling system and whose skills often do not align with employment needs. Many public-private partnerships have been established in South Africa to address the gap that exists for an adequately trained work force emerging from the school system and numerous corporations invest every year billions in education interventions, surpassing even the aid provided by traditional bilateral and multilateral donors to the sector.

In 2013, a SAIIA/Wits research team conducted an in-depth study on the delivery, effectiveness, and impact of the Anglo Platinum and other mining companies' education programs in the Limpopo and North West provinces to improve learning outcomes in public schools, particularly in the critical subjects of math and sciences. The study utilized a rich pool of data and combined qualitative, econometric, and quasi-experimental methods of evaluation while engaging public institutions and local stakeholders in the process.

The research revealed some surprising findings, such as the effects of mines on learning results in surrounding schools and affected communities. The study affirms many current theories and raises new questions with regard to the role of educators, the impact of interventions, socio-economic factors, and other aspects affecting the school system of South Africa. It also puts into questions some of the common practices in the design and evaluation of development programs. The report will be released on May 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM at the Donald Gordan Auditorium,Wits School of Governance (WSG), Parktown, Johannesburg.