Street-level bureaucracy : a case study of the implementation of the Adult Basic Education and Training Policy in the Pinetown Education District of KwaZulu-Natal.
This research focuses on the challenges of policy implementation. Specifically, the research identifies the challenges that ABET Centre Managers encounter when trying to implement the ABET Policy in the Pinetown Education District of KwaZulu-Natal. The research identifies inadequacy of key resources such as finances, teaching material, time factor as well as lack of commitment and political will from the Department of Education in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal as the major challenges impeding effective implementation of the ABET Policy. In addition, the complexity and dynamic nature of the policy implementation process is delineated. By using Lipsky’s theory of street-level bureaucracy as a framework, the researcher argues that, ABET Centre Managers, despite the multifaceted problems that they encounter, use their discretionary power and autonomy to find ways to perform their functions. In this respect, the Centre Managers use their discretion and autonomy to assist learners, not to further their own self interests. Furthermore, the findings of this study seem to authenticate Lipsky’s theory of street-level bureaucracy which takes into account the critical role played by street-level bureaucrats in policy implementation. As such, the researcher argues that the experiences and suggestions of Centre Managers who are the key implementers of the ABET Policy can provide vital information for the further development of the ABET Policy in South Africa. In the final analysis, the research hinges on one of Lipsky’s key argument that, the rational top-down model to policy implementation is inadequate to achieve effective policy implementation, but that the actions and decisions of street-level bureaucrats (in this case, the ABET Centre Managers in the Pinetown Education District), bear consequences for the policy’s intended beneficiaries, the illiterate people.