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The eleven Research Programmes of the HSRC are engaged in a wide variety of projects in South and southern Africa.

In delivering social science that makes a difference some two hundred projects were underway at one or another stage in 2002/03. They serve diverse users, particularly in the public sector. This section is a selective overview of this diversity. Additional examples and details can be found in the section for each Research Programme, as well as on the HSRC website at, which provides information on ongoing projects and initiatives and their outputs.

Assessment Technology and Education Evaluation (ATEE)

  • The Quality Learning Project is a five-year school intervention programme to improve learner performance by providing relevant skills and expertise to district officials, school management teams and teachers. The HSRC is conducting the evaluation component.
  • The Assessment Modelling Initiative is funded by the US Research Triangle Institute. It evaluates the performance of Grade 3 learners and supports educators with assessment resource banks.
  • ATEEs involvement in the international Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) has been significantly expanded, and ATEE is planning technical workshops to share the resources emanating from this research.

Child, Youth and Family Development (CYFD)

  • The Birth to Twenty study is the largest longitudinal study of children in Africa and one of the few large ongoing prospective studies of child development in the world, focusing on the health and well-being of three thousand children and their families.
  • A study for UNICEF on school responses to violence and harassment of girls identified the factors that create the conditions for, and sustain violence against girls in schools. UNICEF has since commissioned the HSRC to assist with five major initiatives resulting from the study.
  • A survey of Gauteng schools to determine youth civic engagement in a period of transition in South Africa focused on a range of issues, including civic responsibility, involvement in community organisations, tolerance of social differences, social trust, civic knowledge and skills, altruism and commitment to the common good.
  • CYFD provided the national Department of Social Development with research to support the development of a family policy. CYFD has reviewed the state of families in South Africa, including conditions that affect the quality of family life and the capacity of families to support dependants.

Democracy and Governance (D&G)

  • Together with the Africa Institute of South Africa, D&G and IRRD submitted a report to the National Assembly on the identification and analysis of economic strategies in Africa and proposals on an appropriate strategy for the African Union. The report identified that the success of the newly launched African Union and NEPAD presumes a significant deepening of both political and economic unity.
  • The convening of a two-day workshop of some of South Africas top social scientists will result in the publication in September 2003 of the first annual review of events and developments in South Africa, called The State of the Nation: South Africa 2003/04, including the assessments of governmental and societal performance over the ten years since 1994.
  • D&G has launched a local government research focus under the leadership of Dr Doreen Atkinson and, based in Bloemfontein, a new regional centre of the HSRC. An initial study examined challenges in serving the needs of farm workers.
  • Various publications on Lesotho reviewed the impact of a changed electoral system on the outcome of the general election in 2002.

Employment and Economic Policy Research (EEPR)

  • EEPR has been actively involved in improving the availability of information that enables Government, institutions and individuals to make effective decisions for skills development. This has included work for SETAs, processes to ensure continuous innovation in analysis and the production of forecasts.
  • EEPR has started to develop methodologies and gather empirical information on the impact of HIV/AIDS on industries and the economy. This should ultimately inform industry-wide strategy to combat HIV/AIDS.
  • Mintek and the HSRC are collaborating in the Resource Based Technology Cluster (RBTC) in the Department of Science and Technologys national R&D strategy. This programme involves exploration on how innovation and diversi-fication in inputs industries are leveraged off the needs of large resource-based companies.
  • The development of employment and unemployment scenarios under different conditions over five to ten years will be a flagship in the EEPR. This is a multi-disciplinary project looking at the labour market, demand conditions and the character of economic linkages. It is developing a tool that should enable the assessment of policy interventions and policy balance.

Education Policy Research (EPR)

  • A project on rural schools commissioned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation is examining how teachers, learners and parents experience education in a context of rural poverty.
  • EPR has examined the harmonisation of the disparate teacher and school evaluation instruments that have been developed over the last ten years in negotiated processes between the Unions and the Department of Education. This study will now be implemented.
  • The video Colouring in Our Classrooms, produced by the HSRC and Wits Education Policy Unit, traces the first generation of school-going children in post-apartheid South Africa, documenting their schooling experiences and views on issues such as race, class, gender, poverty, inequality and violence. It provides an informative and entertaining insight into South Africas new generation across class, colour and gender.

Human Resources Development (HRD)

  • The HSRC provided monitoring and evaluation support to a major Danish Government initiative in the Further Education and Training (FET) College sector. This longitudinal study will draw empirical conclusions about the nature of donor-supported organisational and curriculum change in the FET sector, as well as about issues of sustainability.
  • The HRD project, funded by the Department of Science and Technology, will be launching its biennial analytical review and associated data warehouse at the end of 2003, analysing develop-ments in education and training, with labour market indicators.
  • A national survey of current training practices in South African firms is being undertaken for the Department of Labour, in association with the Bureau for Market Research from UNISA. The Department will use information from the study to support and co-ordinate training and human resource development across the economy.
  • Over eighty Government and college leaders, as well as academic researchers, gathered to discuss the results of the HSRCs Tracer Study of College Graduates. The findings of the survey and the conference proceedings highlighted the complex nature of institutional responsiveness involving multiple stakeholders.
  • The report of the first phase of the Student Choice Project, From School to Higher Education? was released in January 2002 and received wide publicity. The study investigated Grade 12 learners choices among qualifications at technikons and universities with regard to higher education.

Integrated Rural and Regional Development (IRRD)

  • Nine larger and smaller HSRC studies were done for the Governments ten-year review of delivery on its mandate to reduce poverty. Others for the Presidencys scenario building programme were conducted.
  • A three-year project to predict urban migration in South Africa has been undertaken. The objective is to describe, analyse and interpret population migration patterns in South Africa, including cross-border migration. The resulting models will provide valuable policy-making and planning tools for a wide range of users in Government and the private sector.
  • IRRDs investigation for the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry into water and sanitation to the rural poor, and related issues for sustainability and poverty eradication, focused on the functionality of 23 schemes in KwaZulu-Natal. It identified obstacles to sustainability and sources of institutional stress.

Knowledge Management (KM)

  • The National Research and Development (R&D) Survey and the Study on the Mobility of R&D Workers for the Department of Science and Technology are informing government planning of the science and technology system.
  • An early indication from the former study is that the science councils have undergone a remarkable transformation over the last decade with the proportion of research staff from designated groups now at around 50%.
  • The latter study puts into context the discussions on mobility and highlights the need for a co-ordinated approach across Government. After presentation to the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, the report will be disseminated more broadly.

Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health (SAHA)

  • The Nelson Mandela/HSRC Study of HIV/AIDS: South African National HIV Prevalence, Behavioural Risks and Mass Media Household Survey 2002 was a pioneering nationwide survey which has yielded invaluable primary data and has changed national HIV surveillance methodology.
  • The project on strategies for the care of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, which started in April 2002, involves the implementation of intervention programmes over a five-year period to assist children, families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
  • SAHAs initiative for developing and mentoring young researchers in the field focuses on training eleven people from historically disadvantaged groups each year. Supported by a Pennsylvania State University project, it also caters for students from other countries, including minority students from the United States.
  • SAHA conducted a national survey on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the health sector, including health personnel, ambulatory and hospitalised patients, on behalf of the Department of Health. The results of the survey inform human resource and the broader management of HIV/AIDS in public and private health facilities.

Social Cohesion and Integration (SCI)

  • SCI and its partners convened a conference on the Human Genome and Africa in March 2003. The conference brought together 350 delegates from Africa and around the globe to discuss the implications for Africa of sequencing the human genome. 23 young scholars from under-resourced institutions in Africa were awarded fellowships to attend the conference.
  • The study on the Petrol Station 5 received major media coverage and has already led to some important safety interventions in the industry. The investigation into the safety and security at South African petrol stations conducted by a SCI-led team was launched at the Civic Centre, Grassy Park, in December 2002.
  • SCI commissioned a paper on the connections between South Africa, Israel and Palestine from renowned historian Dr Heribert Adam. It was launched at the London School of Economics in September 2002 and was followed up in March 2003 with an historic meeting of Israelis, Palestinians and South Africans near Hermanus in the Western Cape.

Surveys, Analyses, Modelling and Mapping (SAMM)

  • On behalf of the Department of Health, SAMM conducted an analysis on Minimum Data Sets (MDS) on ageing in South Africa in order to identify accurate information to evaluate indicators associated with issues related to the aged population. Data sets were archived and placed in GIS format and recommendations informed the submission to the WHO MDS project.
  • An Urban Studies Unit, established within SAMM, will give expression to the National Urban Research Initiative (NURI) baseline project and will fill a research gap at the HSRC.
  • During the 2002/03 financial year, a rigorous longitudinal South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) was established. SASAS will explore a wide range of value changes, including the distribution and shape of racial attitudes and aspirations, attitudes towards democratic and constitutional issues, and the redistribution of resources and power.

Corporate Services

  • In September 2002, Project Phoenix was implemented by Corporate Services to improve service delivery to internal users in several areas: IT infrastructure, intranet and Internet, and management information. A further feature of Project Phoenix was the creation of a virtual library, permitting researchers to access information online from all HSRC offices.
  • Project Phoenix also undertook initial systems development towards the intended HSRC management information and project management system, to support the delivery of large-scale, multi-year, multi-country Research Programmes.
  • The Audit Committee has developed a three-year audit plan to monitor risk management in the HSRC. The plan encompasses a fraud prevention plan, a corporate governance review and an information technology audit.
  • Following discussions between management, the Union and the Council, four frameworks for implementation were developed to enhance HSRC labour relations and employment practices: a forum for researcher representation; the expansion and updating of the HSRCs employment equity policy; the professional development of research and administrative staff; and improved internal communication.

Office of the CEO

  • The HSRC Business Development unit assisted research leaders in their selection, preparation and submission of funding proposals and tenders to a broad range of potential users and funders. For a third consecutive year, a dramatic increase in external research income was achieved, to R61m in 2002/03. For the first time in the history of the HSRC, its external research income equalled the Parliamentary grant.
  • The HSRCs Research Ethics Committee was established on 27 November 2002 with a leading research ethicist as chairperson and a broad-ranging membership including internal representatives and external stakeholders. The Committee examines and approves all research projects in advance, assisted by guidelines of similar bodies such as the Medical Research Council.
  • HSRC Publishers implemented its not-for-profit electronic dissemination strategy and generated sales of print copies from around the world and especially Africa. The Publishers produced twelve occasional papers, nine client reports, three research monographs and eighteen books (new and reprints) during the financial year.
  • In March 2003, Corporate Communications produced the first edition of the bimonthly news bulletin, HSRC Review, mailed or electronically distributed to 8 000 members of national, provincial and local government, Parliamentary committees, media, and secondary schools in South Africa, as well as collaborators and funders nationally and internationally.