Minding the gap between policy and practice amongst extension workers: lessons from Kwazulu Natal
20 years into a post-apartheid South Africa, the National Development Plan (NDP) provides the contextual and institutional framework for all of governments activities. As a result, there is a call for extension to increasingly become associated with efficient and effective delivery of services in line with government policy to improve the quality of public services which are critical to achieving a transformed racially equitable public service. This article interrogates the issue of a gap between policy and implementation amongst Extension Workers by reflecting on the findings of research conducted as part of a doctoral study in Public Administration by the main author at the University of KwaZulu Natal. The article makes reference to the findings related to policy knowledge amongst Extension Workers and the challenges related to policy implementation in KwaZulu Natal, and seeks to use the findings of this research to present opportunities and challenges for the implementation of the NDP and concludes that whilst Extension Workers are now challenged to find a balance between their functionality within extension and as public servants, it is important for some consideration to be made by government and education institutions for the changing roles of Extension Workers.
Key words: policy gap, governance, food security, poverty, National Development Plan, Extension Workers.