Learning from education system improvement at scale 1200 in schools in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

8 October 2015, 12.00 PM - 8 October 2015, 1.30 PM

Professor Mary Metcalfe, Visiting Professor at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Room 2.17, 35 Berkeley Square


The Jika iMfundo campaign is testing a theory of change around improving curriculum coverage to improve learning outcomes. It is a pilot on scale, and is working in all 1 200 schools across the Districts of Pinetown and uThungulu in KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. The campaign arises from a national concern regarding inequitable and inadequate education outcomes. This drives a sense of urgency to make rapid progress on a system-wide improvement in learning outcomes. The design of the programme has been informed by the disciplines of both education and change management and the design of its implementation balances cost, scalability and impact. The campaign and its interventions are embedded in the education department and are implemented with the teacher unions. The interventions are multiple, internally consistent and mutually reinforcing within the line of reciprocal accountability from the classroom to the administration. The goal is to monitor, report and respond to problems identified with support through professional management conversations based on evidence of curriculum coverage in learners’ work. The seminar will examine the education principles underlying the intervention, the change management and implementation-on-scale principles informing the design of the intervention and will review early lesson of change on scale.


Mary Metcalfe is a Visiting Professor at the School of Public and Development Administration at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (Wits), and at the Faculty of Education at the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg. She is a former teacher, school principal, college and university lecturer, and head of the Wits School of Education. Metcalfe was an education policy analyst at the Centre for Education Policy Development before being appointed as the minister of education in the Gauteng province in 1994, with responsibility for education in the first democratic government in South Africa. In 1999, she was appointed as Gauteng’s provincial minister for agriculture, conservation, environment, and land affairs. From 2009 to 2011, she served as the director general of higher education and training in South Africa. She has a BEd from the University of Zimbabwe, a diploma in specialized education, and an MA in education from Wits. 

Contact information

Marcia Shah

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