From the AEN, I came to know that I can achieve a deeper understanding of evidence-based practices by broadening my theoretical and cultural perspective
by Lesedi Senamele Matlala
Given the growing challenges and expectations of the education sector in South Africa, there is the need for tomorrow's leaders of the country to have analytical knowledge and tools to formulate and implement viable and evidence-based policies that will bring about quality education in the country. As a member of the AEN, I am fully convinced that evidence-based practices offer an opportunity to design policies that will seek to find lasting solutions to the problems that hinders South Africa’s education.
Since having joined the AEN in 2018, I have attained broader knowledge of educational evidence-based practices and their specific principles and applications especially to the education sector. Through the AEN I have also gained a more focused view on what we are trying to achieve with evidence – both as a researcher and as an evaluator.
In September 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Africa Evidence Week organised by the AEN secretariat, the Africa Centre for Evidence. What I really liked from the 2019 AEN event was the welcoming learning atmosphere that provided me with so many opportunities for networking and information sharing with peers and experts in the field of evidence-use; this was something that drew me to the Network. What also stood out for me from the event is that there is a wide range of evidence-based techniques and tools that the education sector actors can use to improve the quality of education in South Africa.
In certainty, the AEN also provided me with an opportunity to meet experts from all over the continent in one location; even today I still have the ability to share ideas and learn from their experiences in their respective countries. From the AEN, I came to know that I can achieve a deeper understanding of evidence-based practices by broadening my theoretical and cultural perspective. I also began to see not only the importance of evidence-use, but also its challenge, excitement, and application in research as well as academia.
I am of the conviction that being part of the AEN has laid the necessary foundation required for me to pursue my PhD studies with a focus on evidence-use in South Africa. For my work, I have to regularly undertake needs assessments involving different stakeholders and beneficiaries for designing impactful educational interventions that aim to improve South Africa’s education crisis. I think and believe that my affiliation with the AEN enabled me to have a wider understanding in terms of designing evidence-based interventions that align to the needs of beneficiaries and have a positive impact on the education sector.
The views expressed in published Gallery of African EIDM Stories, as well as any errors or omissions, are the sole responsibility of the author/s and do not represent the views of the Africa Evidence Network, its secretariat, advisory or reference groups, or its funders; nor does it imply endorsement by the afore-mentioned parties.