Children's daily travel to school in Johannesburg-Soweto, South Africa: geography and school choice in the Birth to Twenty cohort study

de Kadt, Julia, Norris, Shane, Fleisch, Brahm, Richter, Linda and Alvanides, Seraphim (2014) Children's daily travel to school in Johannesburg-Soweto, South Africa: geography and school choice in the Birth to Twenty cohort study. Children's Geographies, 12 (2). pp. 170-177. ISSN 1473-3285

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This paper has two aims: to explore approaches to the measurement of children’s daily travel to school in a context of limited geospatial data availability, and to provide data regarding school choice and distance travelled to school in Soweto-Johannesburg, South Africa. The paper makes use of data from the Birth to Twenty cohort study (n=1428) to explore three different approaches to estimating school choice and travel to school. Firstly, straight-line distance between home and school is calculated. Secondly, census geography is used to determine whether a child's home and school fall in the same area. Thirdly, distance data are used to determine whether a child attends the nearest school. Each of these approaches highlights a different aspect of mobility, and all provide valuable data. Overall, primary school aged children in Soweto-Johannesburg are shown to be travelling substantial distances to school on a daily basis. Over a third travel more than 3km, one-way, to school, 60% attend schools outside of the suburb in which they live, and only 18% attend their nearest school. These data provide evidence for high levels of school choice in Johannesburg-Soweto, and that families and children are making substantial investments in pursuit of high quality educational opportunities. Additionally, these data suggest that two patterns of school choice are evident: one pattern involving travel of substantial distances and requiring a higher level of financial investment, and a second pattern, involving choice between more local schools, requiring less travel and a more limited financial investment.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Work on this paper was supported by ESRC funding for Pathfinder project (RES-238-25-0047) ‘School progression, school choice and travel to school amongst urban South African secondary school learners’ Seraphim Alvanides, Northumbria University (PI) in collaboration with Linda Richter, South African Human Sciences Research Council and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Co-I). Data used in this paper were kindly provided by Bt20, the Gauteng Department of Basic Education, and Statistics South Africa.
Uncontrolled Keywords: school choice, school travel, Soweto, Johannesburg, Birth to Twenty
Subjects: K400 Planning (Urban, Rural and Regional)
L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
Depositing User: Seraphim Alvanides
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2012 14:17
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 16:00

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