PAN: Children

Welcome to the PAN:Children Portal. PAN:Children is an online knowledge-hub complemented by dialogue and capacity building activities. We seek to provide timely and up-to-date information on child rights and equity. A partnership between the HSRC and UNICEF, this platform aims to provide a consolidated digital repository on the situation of children in South Africa. Please see the “About Us” page for further information.

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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

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To achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP) in addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, government requires data sources that provide empirical evidence which informs society on how far we have come in addressing these challenges and how far we still need to go. In 2006, the Presidency commissioned the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) at the University of Cape Town to undertake a panel study, the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS). South Africa has joined developed countries such as the UK and the US and developing countries such as Mexico and Indonesia in having a national panel survey. South Africa is a society that is undergoing rapid economic, political and social change, and the government identified the need for a panel study in order to better understand social change, mobility, poverty and household dynamics.This seminar explored the lives of children and youth in South Africa

Link: Report

With children making up an estimated one third of internet users worldwide, living in the ‘digital age’ can have important implications for children’s lives. Currently, close to 80 per cent of people in Europe, North America and Australia have internet access, compared with less than 25 per cent in some parts of Africa and South Asia. The international community has recognized the importance of internet access for development, economic growth and the realization of civil rights and is actively seeking ways to ensure universal internet access to all segments of society. 

Inequality among different socio-economic, racial and gender groups is a salient topic in South Africa. Specifically in education, the South African education system exhibits a skew distribution of achievement levels for an upper-middle-income developing country. It is thus critical to assess educational inequality in order to address the systemic factors which inhibit the attainment of an equitable educational system. The analysis of data from the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) provides an opportunity to examine this issue from a number of different perspectives.

TIMSS is an international study which assesses mathematics and science knowledge at the Grades 4, 8 and 9 levels. South Africa has participated in four rounds of TIMSS Grade 8 and 9 surveys over the last 20 years. The analysis of this data has allowed the Human Sciences Research Council to examine the key policy areas of gender equity, safety and security, educational pathways and the impact of inequality. In addition, the emerging issue of learner attitudes as a significant factor in understanding learner achievement has been explored. Using this data, four policy briefs and a journal article have been published which contextualise mathematics and science achievement within the broader South African landscape of inequality and poverty. In a bid to deepen the South African education agenda, it is necessary to engage key stakeholders in critical discussion in key policy areas and emerging policy debates.

Attached are policy briefs drawn from this study and presentations from the seminar will be made available shortly

The rapid changes that take place during adolescence provide opportunities for the development and implementation of policies and programmes, which can influence the gender socialization process, in order to maximize positive outcomes. This paper sets out to provide a conceptual understanding of the gender socialization process during adolescence, its influences and outcomes, and practical suggestions on how to use this knowledge in the design of policies and programmes to improve gender equality.

In her report, the Special Representative provides an overview of major initiatives and developments aimed at sustaining and scaling up efforts to safeguard children’s right to be free from violence. The report is in support of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its distinct target to end all forms of violence against children, and builds upon the commemoration in 2016 of the tenth anniversary of the submission to the General Assembly of the United Nations study on violence against children.

In a rapidly ageing world, sub-Saharan Africa stands out for its youth. Harnessing the potential of the region’s children and adolescents through expanded opportunities for health and education, could unlock a demographic dividend. However, demography also creates risks for Africa – and for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over the next 15 years, Africa will account for a fast-rising share of the world’s under-five population, adolescents, and new entrants to the work force. This has far-reaching implications for the age profile of global poverty. On current trends, we estimate that by 2030 one-in-five African children will be living below the $1.90 poverty threshold – and that these children could account for over 40% of world poverty. In Child poverty, inequality and demography we examine the implications of demographic trends in Africa for the changing age profile of world poverty – and for the region's development prospects. Investing in opportunities for Africa’s children could yield major returns for economic growth and human development. Education is critical. Delivering decent quality learning for all is a proven catalyst for development. We also highlight the expansion of reproductive health care, promotion of gender equity, measures to reduce early marriage, and cash transfers targeting child poverty as critical ingredients for change. African governments and the wider international community could be doing far more in these areas. With the right mix of policies in place, Africa could accelerate the pace of demographic transition – and reap a dividend from a rising generation of youth. There are valuable lessons to be drawn from other regions and some countries in Africa itself. But governments need to wake up to the demographic opportunity as a matter of urgency. 

The government spends the biggest slice of its budget on education, more than any other African country. And yet the crisis persists. In How to Fix South Africa’s Schools: Lessons From Schools That Work, Jonathan Jansen, Vice Chancellor at the University of the Free State and documentary filmmaker Molly Blank look at South African schools that work, in spite of adverse conditions – hunger, poverty, lack of resources, lack of toilets, and overcrowding in both rural and urban environments – and have drawn out the practical strategies that make them successful. Some critical strategies they found include: principal leadership; parental involvement; committed teachers; understanding the whole child; a commitment to quantity and quality; motivational activities; setting performance standards and working effectively to meet them; continuous student assessment; and outside partnerships. The book includes 19 videos that chronicle the stories of these school communities.At the link above excerpts from these documentaries can be viewed.

What is the evidence regarding positive and negative impacts of social protection programmes on children, and more specifically, the conditions and processes that cause these outcomes? What does the literature suggest as key guiding considerations and approaches to maximise positive impacts. The report finds that impact of social protection on children is under-researched. In addition it summaries key findings and insights from the existing literature.

This desk review surveys existing literature and research on the effects of traditional and religious practices surrounding child marriage on Africa’s socio-economic development. The review is the first part of a study that will also include field visits by the AU Special Rapporteur on Ending Child Marriage.

Although religious and traditional leaders may in the past have been the primary instigators and defenders of harmful practices against children, the research covered here offers proof and encouragement for the view that with the appropriate interventions they now may become key instruments – and in fact leaders – of the movement to end such practices.

Document(s): PDF icon UNICEF_SOWC_2016.pdf
SOWC 2016

Every child has the right to health, education and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. The State of the World’s Children 2016 argues that progress for the most disadvantaged children is not only a moral, but also a strategic imperative. Stakeholders have a clear choice to make: invest in accelerated progress for the children being left behind, or face the consequences of a far more divided world by 2030. At the start of a new development agenda, the report concludes with a set of recommendations to help chart the course towards a more equitable world.