This paper is primarily concerned with raising a higher level question about the nature of knowledge and evidence used in planning, implementing and evaluating skills reforms. The paper notes the very high level of official optimism about the benefits of the governance reform process but the real lack of hard evidence across the region for actual implementation, let alone impact. It argues that this is hard-wired into the way that these governance reforms are understood in that they have an implicit theory of change that puts the emphasis on the promulgation of policy rather than matters of implementation, and which assumes that implementation and impact necessarily and unproblematically occur.
Southern African Development Community countries continue to struggle to implement the set of governance reforms and a large gap continues to exist between the governance level and the actual reform of provider institutions, employer involvement and improvements in learning and employment outcomes.
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