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Government engages research community to address knowledge gaps in the Basic Education Sector

The DBE is intensifying its efforts to provide much needed guidance and support for both local and international researchers, who conduct research studies in the schooling context.  Dr Stephen Taylor, Director for Research Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation from the DBE, chaired the DBE Research Repository and Agenda Consultation, which took place at the Manhattan Hotel in Pretoria on 8 October 2019. The Consultation was organised to re-emphasise the significant benefits of centralising a research agenda in the Basic Education Sector for the prevention of any duplication of research studies that might be conducted in the sector. In his keynote address, Dr Thabo Mabogoane from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, commended the DBE for having drafted a research agenda identifying areas where there are large knowledge gaps. In addition, he acknowledged the launching of the DBEs research repository with over 120 studies highlighting that, “generally, knowledge sharing at various spheres of government is a critical undertaking to improve public services in the country”.

Speaking during the launch, Dr Taylor acknowledged the commitment and efforts made by various research experts who collaborate with the DBE in improving quality learning and teaching. “To guide and coordinate research undertaken in the Basic Education Sector, we have drafted a research agenda for the medium-term period 2019 – 2023. The agenda sets out the main research questions which are priorities for the Department, and the sector for the next five years. The agenda was formulated through a consultation process with branch heads within the Department; researchers from Higher Education Institutions; donor organisations; other departments such as National Treasury and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; and other education stakeholders. Following a similar consultative process, the research agenda will be updated on a bi-annual basis. The agenda provides thematic areas, main and sub-research questions as well as examples of DBE studies on the same, explained Dr Taylor.

In addition to the agenda, “we are thrilled that the repository contains sector-specific research that has been commissioned and conducted within the DBE. There are 120 reports that have been categorised into 12 themes, dating from 1996 to 2019,” added Dr Taylor. Presentations were also made by various research institutions, including the University of Cape Town, the Africa Population Health Search Centre from Kenya and the REAL Centre, Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

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