Why Study Economics in South Africa?

The first question nearly everyone asked when I told them I was going to South Africa was, “Are you going for the World Cup?” My response was no, but it was amazing how many students and adults were tuned in to the FIFA World Cup and its presence in South Africa this year.

So after telling them no, their reaction, by both adults and students, about my upcoming trip is why study economics in South Africa? My first reply is, “Why not?”

Rather, when you think about the struggles the country has had with apartheid, with industrialization, with poverty and with competing in a global marketplace – South Africa seems a great place to see what students there are learning about economics and how we can help, as well as learn from their experiences to help our own students gain from it, too.

The main objectives for the Study Tour to the Republic of South Africa include:

  • better understand through contact with teachers, learners/students, administrators, and education leaders the evolution of the teaching of economics in South Africa;
  • gain an understanding of how economic education is delivered in South Africa and become familiar with education reforms related to teacher training, standards development, curriculum development, and assessment;
  • expand your knowledge about the economic, political, historical, and social conditions in South Africa in order to better understand the achievements made and the challenges facing economic educators;
  • share with South African trainers, classroom teachers, K-12 learners/students, and other leaders background on economic education in the United States and your experience teaching economics;
  • compare, contrast, and reflect on the similarities and differences between economic education delivery in the Republic of South Africa and the United States;
  • transfer knowledge gained during the study tour to U.S. students and other educators through post study tour activities and lessons;
  • integrate a global perspective into your classroom teaching to broaden student understanding of the global economy in which we live;
  • gain exposure to participation of various sectors of society in the delivery of economic education in South Africa.

Of course, using the economic circumstances of the World Cup will definitely be an added bonus when sharing these experiences with U.S. students upon my return. So there were many reasons for the trip and I look forward to sharing all of them with Maryland’s students upon my return.

– Mr. R.