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The Lifecycle of a South African Non-governmental Organisation: Primary Science Programme 1983–1999

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The case study traces the lifecycle of the Primary Science Programme (PSP) in South Africa, from its initiation in 1983 to its demise in 1999. The case is considered to be representative of the experiences of many South African non-governmental organisations (NGOs), insofar as PSP developed co-terminously with numerous other NGOs within the same political policy environment, serving the same clientele of disadvantaged teachers and depending on the same corporate, voluntary and external funding sources. It illustrates how the social and economic environment shaped PSP's development and demise. The conclusions highlight tensions between quality and quantity, subject versus holistic focus, participatory versus authoritarian management structures, and between styles of relationships with departmental structures. Lessons are drawn concerning the nature of effective InSET and the challenges inherent in taking education programmes to scale. An analogy with the ecological study of a plant's lifecycle is used to illuminate the account.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2001

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