oa Journal of Education - Tracking racial desegration in South African schools

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



The purpose of this paper is to examine what the national Education Management Information Statistics database is able to tell us about the racial desegregation of schools and to compare this with findings from qualitative research. Examining challenges in the data and using simple statistical techniques to analyse a dataset for 2001, the paper shows that overall patterns appear to confirm the findings of qualitative research that there has been more movement from and integration of African learners into schools previously defined as Indian and Coloured; that schools previously defined as white remain largely so and that the statistics for the Western Cape on race provide an interesting contrast with other provinces. The article shows how diverse the picture is provincially and raises questions about race-based statistics and what they can and cannot tell us about the role of schools in changing broader racial and class identities.

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