Systematic Reviews of Research in Basic Education in South Africa


Prof Felix Maringe (ed)
University of the Witwatersrand


Basic Education, Research, South Africa, Educational Decision-making, learner achievement, meta-analysis, poverty


There is growing evidence based on practice and research-led development that informs decision-making in education in general and basic education in particular in South Africa. Much inspired transformation has happened in education since 1994 with notable improvement of the system. Even though the apartheid regime was discontinued in 1994, we continue to see the existence of two systems of education: one that serves the affluent minority communities and the other that serves the underprivileged majority. Secondly, despite the considerable financial budget spend on education, South Africa continues to be at the bottom of performance league tables, outperformed by countries that spend less on education with substantially limited resources. The purpose of the chapter is to highlight how the following chapters contribute to the knowledge base by conducting systematic reviews in selected areas in basic education. This methodology is most likely to provide the best evidence that is available in South Africa upon which school improvement and learning outcomes can be enhanced. We conclude by giving a synopsis of each chapter’s contribution, outlining the purposes and how a systematic review is to be carried out in each.
The overarching concern of this book is to condense the increasing, broad literature base to highlight the best evidence that tells us where the education system is doing well and where it continues to falter. The book is thus purposed at creating a valid basis for future work that can be used to drive qualitative improvements in the basic education sector.


  • 1. Systematic reviews in basic education in South Africa
    The gold standard of evidence for educational decision-making
    Felix Maringe, Otilia Chiramba
  • 2. Interventions to improve learner achievement in South Africa
    A systematic meta-analysis
    Neissan Alessandro Besharati, Brahm Fleisch, Khotso Tsotsotso
  • 3. The impact of poverty on basic education in South Africa
    A systematic review of literature
    Vitallis Chikoko, Pinkie Mthembu
  • 4. Review and evaluation studies of school effectiveness and improvement in South Africa
    A systematic and critical appraisal
    Francine de Clercq, Yael Shalem
  • 5. Research on school leadership in South Africa
    A systematic review
    Tony Bush, Derek Glover
  • 6. A Systematic review of trends in teaching and learning research in South African schools
    Laura Dison, Alison Kearney
  • 7. Science teacher professional development in post-apartheid South Africa
    A systematic review of the literature on basic education
    Elaosi Vhurumuku
  • 8. Dealing with difference
    A scoping review of disability in education in South Africa
    Judith McKenzie, Brian Watermeyer, Kyla Meyerson
  • 9. Research on mathematics teacher knowledge in Southern Africa
    A 2010-2018 systematic review
    Judah Paul Makonye
  • 10. Systematic literature review of literacy and reading in South Africa
    Geeta Motilal
  • 11. Imperatives for educational improvement in South Africa’s basic education system
    Felix Maringe

Author Biographies

Prof Felix Maringe, University of the Witwatersrand

Professor of Higher Education

Dr Otilia Chiramba, WITS

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Neissan Alessandro Besharati, Pan-African Investment & Research Services

Director for Deloitte Development Africa

Prof Brahm Fleisch, University of the Witwatersrand

Professor of Education Policy in the Division of Education Leadership, Policy and Skills

Khotso Tsotsotso, New Leaders Foundation

Head of M&E at New Leaders Foundation

Prof Vitallis Chikoko, UKZN

Professor of Educational Leadership and Management

Dr Pinkie Mthembu, University of the Witwatersrand

Educational Leadership Management and


April 9, 2021


Details about the available publication format: Takealot


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Details about the available publication format: Amazon Paperback

Amazon Paperback

Physical Dimensions