Research Agenda

In order to guide and coordinate research undertaken in the basic education sector the DBE has 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 as a whole 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, the main and sub-research questions as well as examples of DBE studies on the same. The agenda will be updated annually.

Research Repository

There is a plethora of sector-specific research commissioned and conducted within the DBE that has previously not been in the public domain. This repository serves as a mechanism to make this information available. It 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. The full title of the report, institution, year of publication, and as abstract are provided. The pdf of the report can also be downloaded.


The repository will be updated annually.

Research Protocols

The purpose of the research protocols and processes is to provide guidelines and recommendations for researchers on the processes to be followed when conducting research involving DBE officials; programmes which the DBE is directly responsible for; or national scale studies. The research requests are specific to conducting interviews with DBE Officials, or requesting data or other information from the DBE.

The application procedure; criteria for approval; ethical considerations; available datasets etc. are all documented in the research guideline.

The DBE will not grant permission for conducting research in schools on a single/isolated visit basis. Furthermore, the DBE will not grant permission for conducting research in districts, or individual Provincial Education Departments (PEDs). Applications to conduct research at these institutions should be directed to the relevant PED. The details of provincial officials responsible for this are also provided in the research guideline.

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