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Evidence-based social policy for young children: Tackling a wicked problem in South Africa

Presenters: Andy Dawes (Associate Emeritus Professor, Department of Psychology, UCT) & Linda Biersteker, (Consultant and Associate, Early Learning Resource Unit)
Date: Monday, 28 July 2014, 12h00 – 14h00
Venue: Upper Campus, University of Cape Town [exact venue TBC]
About the seminar

Those who attempt to improve the well-being and outcomes of young children living in poverty face the challenges of a wicked problem – one that is complex, multi-faceted, and interconnected with other social challenges. Solutions require the collaborative deployment of knowledge from several disciplines. They are likely to be costly and to impose an economic burden in a tight fiscal environment – hard choices are therefore necessary. Without cooperative engagement across political sectors (e.g. health, social development, education), progress is likely to be very limited.
Effective engagements between the research and policy communities are a prerequisite for progress. However, policy-makers and researchers are subject to different pressures and occupy different ideological spaces. The cultures of policy-making and the research enterprise are fundamentally different, and from the outset are likely to bedevil the process of bringing research evidence to bear on policy making and programme implementation – particularly in the sphere of social policy. Our contribution will offer some observations on ways to bridge the research to policy divide, and illustrate the manner in which evidence has been brought to the early childhood policy development process in the South African context in the past five years.

Please confirm attendance for catering purposes –  or call Bee Williams on 021 689 5404.

View the programme for this seminar series.


Written in plain English, the [SA Child] Gauge helps make academic research accessible to a wider audience.  [The 2008/2009 issue] serves as ideal reading material for pre- and in-service teacher training, as well as for anyone interested in the educational challenges of the day.
Prof M Robinson, (then) Dean of Education,
Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Aug. 2009

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