The Influence of Policy Formulation Contextual Factors on Implementation: South African White Paper 7 as a Case in Point
Keywords:e-Education, Public Policy, Policy Formulation, Policy implementation, Historical research, Active learning
Using a qualitative historical research approach, this paper examines the South African (SA) e-Education (referred to as White paper 7 (WP7)) policy formulation’s contextual influences and their possible impacts on the policy implementation. A critical discourse analysis (CDA) was conducted on both the policy itself and data collected through semi-structured interviews (SSI) with purposefully selected participants. Findings of the study reveal tacit contradictions and tensions that depict a policy that is in contradiction with itself. That is from its textual, discourse and process perspectives. The study reveals that, from its textual perspective, WP7’s formulation was influenced by the post-apartheid’s government desire to make use of Education and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as quick fixers in response to the dire socioeconomic situation of the majority of citizens. Yet, its discourse perspective points to the fact that its formulation’s motive was merely to coordinate donations in hardware, software and funding from interest groups (IGs). While the donations in question were premised by IGs’ ultimate aim of maximizing profit through an anticipated government funded massive rollout of ICT resources to schools. This resulted in the formulation of WP7 being excessively influenced by contextual factors that had little to do with the policy’s vision of transforming teaching and learning (TL) through ICT. This situation may have contributed to the policy’s failure to reach its set objectives by 2013 as envisaged, at least from the point of view of policy as text.
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