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Is Implementation still the missing link? Understanding public policy processes: Education Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies. (Peace and Development)
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Implementation research in the 1970s claimed that implementation was the missing link between policy intent and policy outcomes. This led to the politics-administration dichotomy, which says that there is a boundary between those who make public policy and those who implement it. Although there have been efforts to show that this boundary does not exist, implementation research is considered to have hit a dead end. The ‘missing link’ discourse is still being used and referred to, both in research and in practice. Public policy literature lacks policy analysis frameworks that study policy processes holistically. Using a theory of change approach, this research study proposes a dynamic policy analysis framework that looks at policy context, social networks between policy actors, actors’ beliefs, influences, and their interactions with institutions; in  an effort to understand how public policy processes, affect implementation, and consequently policy outcomes. As a case study this research looks at post-apartheid education policy change in South Africa, which was based on Outcomes Based Education (OBE), and judged to have failed at implementation. The research finds that implementation is affected by policy interpretation and that in the South African case; the new curriculum (Curriculum 2005) was interpreted differently by different actors, leading to a divergence of outcomes from policy objectives. This was mainly a result of poor information flow between policy actors, which in turn was facilitated by social forces underlying policy processes. The research also finds that context is important; Curriculum 2005 was designed and implemented without a proper understanding of what teachers and learners needed at the classroom level. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 70 p.
Keyword [en]
Public policy processes, dynamic policy analysis, implementation, missing link, education policy, South Africa
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-53439OAI: diva2:936253
Educational program
Peace and Development Work, Master Programme, 60 credits
Available from: 2016-06-16 Created: 2016-06-13 Last updated: 2016-06-16Bibliographically approved

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