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Perspectives on learning backlogs in South African schools



Perspectives on learning backlogs in South African schools
A consolidated publication of papers, edited by Prof. Pam Christie

In 2021, the Zenex Foundation initiated a series of research papers to focus on understanding the nature and scale of learning backlogs in Senior Phase Mathematics, Senior Phase English, Early Grades Mathematics, and Early Grades Literacy. Numerous evaluation studies commissioned by Zenex have highlighted learning backlogs in Mathematics and language as a factor in poor learning outcomes in South African schooling. 

An operating premise of Zenex is that it is necessary to address learning backlogs with appropriately targeted interventions in tandem with curriculum delivery, to improve learning outcomes. This paper serves to introduce the four focus papers on learning backlogs in relation to the Zenex paper’s overall framing of the issues. It also opens broader debates drawing on Prof. Pam Christie’s own perspectives on what the papers suggest about how to understand learning backlogs and intervene to address them. 

The papers include:

  • Introduction to the Zenex Foundation series on Learning Backlogs (Prof. Pam Christie, University of Cape Town)
  • Learning Backlogs: A Zenex Foundation Perspective (Ms Gail Campbell and Ms Thabisile Zuma, Zenex Foundation)
  • Learning Backlogs in Early Grades Literacy (Dr Brian Ramadiro, University of Fort Hare and Ms Lauren Fok, Zenex Foundation)
  • Learning Backlogs in Primary School Mathematics (Dr Eric Schollar, Eric Schollar, and Associates and Mr Sam Rametse, Zenex Foundation)
  • Learning Backlogs in Senior Phase English (Dr Monica Hendricks, Rhodes University and Ms Fundiswa Sayo, Zenex Foundation)
  • Learning Backlogs in Senior Phase Mathematics (Prof. Craig Pournara, University of Witwatersrand and Dr Fatima Adam, Zenex Foundation)


Read and download a consolidated publication of the papers

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