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64 CHAPTER 3


This chapter also demonstrated that government subsidy can improve the quality of schooling, despite the fact that school quality largely depends on local resource availability. Government subsidies, if progressively allocated to lower-quality schools with a poorer resource base, can potentially dis- connect the linkage between local resources and school quality. To narrow the current imbalance, the government should increase financial and per- sonnel support to disadvantaged locales and schools by targeting specific areas—as its progressive subsidy allocation has recently begun to do. If this direct option is limited owing to government budget constraints, alternative strategies may require the redistribution of fees from richer to poorer schools or the implementation of programs that more explicitly move certain kinds of children to better schools—including busing and school vouchers—as already adopted in developed countries.


In this chapter I did not account for more qualitative factors, such as the quality of teachers and school management. It is puzzling why learner achievement in South Africa still differs so widely across population groups despite the equalization (albeit very gradual) of school inputs, such as those measured by LER. There is a need to pay equal or even greater attention to qualitative inputs within the school system, in addition to the highly progres- sive subsidy allocations.


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