John F. Kennedy stated that… “our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” Ed Markey also mentioned that “Our nation’s security, economy, and place on the world stage depends on the success of our educational system.”. The success of an educational system in educating a nation is partly due to the successful management thereof. Educational management, as the name implies, operates in education organisations or institutions, right from schools, colleges and universities to government level. It is concerned with human, physical, material and ideational resources and the success of an education programme relies on the degree of co-ordination and organisation of these resources. It implies an orderly way of thinking about education, it describes in operational terms what is to be done, how it is to be done, and how we know what we have done. Good management should result in an orderly integration of education and society. Operational Research techniques have been applied, from the early stages of the discipline, to a wide variety of issues in education. At government level, these include questions, for example, of what resources should be allocated to education as a whole, how resources should be divided between different sectors of education, how to measure the efficient operation of institutions. At institutional level issues of concern may include, for example, budget allocation, timetable scheduling, student selection, and assignment of jobs to employees. There is and has been planning in education, but there is no question that the planning process can be improved by using operations research, and no question that there is an need for improvement considering the increased demands on education that requires the training of a greater number and proportion of the population to higher levels.
PROJECT: SYSTEMS VIEW ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN BASIC EDUCATION SYSTEM
In this project, a number of system dynamics models are developed with the view to understand the different drivers and their proportional effect on the quality of education delivered in South Africa at various levels of the basic education system. Once a better understanding of the different drivers is gained, it may lead to informing educational policy design and strategic resource allocation in a smarter, more targeted manner.
Members and alumni involved: Lieschen Venter, Theresa Viljoen, Meghan Mulligan, Kaylin van Dyk
Other researchers involved: Stephan Visagie (SU/Logistics)
PROJECT: IMPROVING STUDENT SELECTION CRITERIA AT A SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITY
Selection of students at South African universities must promote equitable and fair access to students from
all population groups, while ensuring optimal student throughput and success. A variety of academic and non-academic measures are used to select applicants for university degree programmes. In this project, a systems dynamics approach is followed to help understand the cause and effect of different student selection criteria on student throughput and diversity in a South African post-apartheid context with a view to improve student selection policy.
Members involved: Lieschen Venter, Celine Jansen van Rensburg