Taking Change to Scale: Lessons from the Jika iMfundo Campaign for Overcoming Inequalities in Schools

  • Mary MetcalfeEmail author
  • Alistair Witten
Part of the Policy Implications of Research in Education book series (PIRE, volume 10)


This chapter describes a large-scale system improvement intervention designed to test a change methodology that is simple enough to be implemented within existing resources but would have a significant, sustainable, and positive impact on learning across the basic education system. The intervention took place over 3 years in 1,200 public primary and secondary public schools in 2 districts. The focus of the change was the deepening of professional conversations about curriculum coverage within the school – between teachers themselves; between teachers and the school management teams (SMTs); and between the school and district officials. Differentials in curriculum coverage (understood as opportunities to learn) between well-performing and poorly performing schools mirror socio-economic inequalities that create unequal opportunities to learn. The training and coaching focused on developing the institutional routines and practices to support and strengthen curriculum coverage. This chapter also provides the rationale for intervention; the essential features of its methodology; and the key lessons that were learned. These lessons include systemic weaknesses in respect of teacher support, and the complexity of professional judgement in interacting with the policy guidance provided in respect of curriculum coverage.


Large-scale education change Opportunities to learn Curriculum coverage Professional agency Internal and reciprocal accountability School management and leadership Professional evidence-based and supportive conversations Compliance Supervision Curriculum management 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of JohannesburgSowetoSouth Africa
  2. 2.The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entreprenuership, Graduate School of BusinessUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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