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Student benefits from data-driven education in South Africa

Beyond the Numbers: Seven Years, Seven Recommendations

Guest Author: Leigh Anne Albert

It’s been seven years since the Department of Basic Education, in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, released a report titled Success by Numbers. The report was developed to assist South Africa’s R-12 education leaders in their desires to improve public schooling, and it resulted in seven practical steps for school leaders to become effective drivers of data. It was the catalyst for the Data Driven Districts (DDD) programme, which has achieved national adoption and helped transform education data management in South Africa today.

But what did this all mean for our educators and learners? As we fast forward to today’s release of the companion research study Beyond the Numbers – developed through a strategic partnership with the National Education Collaboration Trust – and just seven years later South Africa is a global use case for data-driven education. It’s one of very few countries in the world whose educators – through the DDD programme – have near real time attendance, assessment, and progress data for nearly 22,000 schools at their fingertips, accessed over 10,000 users each month.

This is notable progress, but we owe our country’s learners even more. There continues to be important challenges facing data management and ed-tech. Global and contextual changes have evolved, and there are gaps to fill in education data management. Beyond the Numbers lives up to its name – and offers a look at these changes and gaps, with (yet again) seven key recommendations on how the country can close those gaps.

Read more about how data can continue to help South Africa move Beyond the Numbers here.