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Policy brief – SACMEQ countries. Economic and Development Problems in Africa 2 Sept 2013. Policy brief. Write a 3 page memo to the Minister of Education of a SACMEQ country of your choice that identifies a problem of educational quality that needs immediate attention .

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policy brief sacmeq countries

Policy brief – SACMEQ countries

Economic and Development Problems in Africa

2 Sept 2013

policy brief
Policy brief

Write a 3 page memo to the Minister of Education of a SACMEQ country of your choice that identifies a problem of educational quality that needs immediate attention.

Explain why this should be considered a problem (and not just the normal state of affairs), provide concrete and timely evidence to justify your claims (numbers are useful), two possibilities for solving the problem and your one recommendation.

For example, you could identify a gap in reading achievement between urban and rural schools in Uganda, discuss the implications for the teacher supply in rural schools, note that the problem could be solved by either a rural-incentive system for teachers and principals, or by providing additional training and support to rural teachers and principals, and recommend an example of such an incentive system from Botswana’s education system. (All of these would be based on existing evidence which you need to show you are aware of)

policy brief1
Policy brief
  • Your “analysis” of the SACMEQ III (2007) dataset should NOT make up the sum total of your research for your policy recommendations (P.S you will fail if it does, also, if your solutions are “just common sense” rather than backed up by rigorous research you will also fail)
    • Using the SACMEQ dataset is just to give you a feel for actual data and to focus the areas you can look at.
    • Look at international publications and websites like UNESCO’s EFA reports, SACMEQ website, JPAL interventions/reports, 3ie, Center for Global Development (CGD), and obviously Google and Google Scholar.
      • NB – once you’ve chosen your topic and country(s) make sure you do a Google Scholar search and make reference to the existing research on your topic – only include the three (max) most relevant academic articles.
    • You need to judge the validity of your sources – don’t quote newspapers or Newsweek for example.
    • Short doesn’t mean “easy” or “less work”  It’s more difficult to write simply and succinctly, and also easier to see if students know what they are talking about 
policy brief2
Policy brief
  • Find your topic of interest. There are only a few that can be supported using your version of the dataset:
    • Gender, preschool, English, library books, teacher gender, reading score, maths score, health score, PC usage, free school meal, reading textbook, math textbook, PTR, website, rural, school socioeconomic status (SES) reading level and maths level (Obviously combinations of these are recommended)
  • Do a preliminary descriptive analysis of your topic using the SACMEQ data – note any interesting points
  • Spend some time on the websites I suggested looking for papers/policy-briefs/reports etc. on your topic – get familiar with them.
  • Decide on your problem (use SACMEQ) and decide on your two potential solutions (using research)
  • Write it up
  • Make sure the layout looks appealing and “interesting to read” – you may include appropriate pictures (see JPAL examples)
  • Come back to the SACMEQ dataset – get the figures you want to use and make beautiful graphs that show what you are pointing to CLEARLY
  • Layout and structure are almost as important as content
    • Should be visually appealing (see JPAL examples)
    • Include informative and interesting graphs and if appropriate a table
    • Use bold font and varied font-size to good effect (see JPAL)
  • Always be aware of who your intended reader is – a time-short policy maker in a developing country (writing in different registers is an important skill)
  • You should include references but use end-notes (i.e. all references at the end of the document in small font

(Lockheed, 2009)

due dates
Due dates
  • You need to print your policy-brief (preferably in colour) and hand it in at the start of the last lecture – same due date for the essay (if you choose to write an essay rather than do a policy-brief).
an introduction to sacmeq indicators

An Introduction to SACMEQ indicators

"Analysis of education performance indicators in Microsoft Excel” screencast series

in this screencast
In this screencast…
    • 2007 Grade 6 numeracy and literacy
  • Using pivot tables to calculate measures of:
    • Preschool attendance by quintile
    • Average reading and maths scores by gender
    • Textbook access by quintile and province
  • Aims
    • Using pivot tables to extract meaning from data
    • Using conditional formatting
everyone must complete online questionnaire
EVERYONE must complete online questionnaire

Go to the website and complete the questions on the SACMEQ dataset – counts towards class participation mark.