The Masters degree in Management in the field of Social Security (MM-SSPMA) is offered to support the managerial and policy development capabilities of people looking at careers within the evolving social security system in South Africa and the region.
The field incorporates both public and private financing and delivery mechanisms for a range of social risks, including: old age, death and disability, sickness protection, health protection, unemployment, and the protection of vulnerable families.
The study programme for this degree seeks to provide a comprehensive range of courses for managers in social security, and accommodates two types of professional working or seeking to work within the field by offering a significant elective in either administration or modelling and social budgeting. The former is targeted at people focused on a management career and who require a solid background in all aspects of the social security. The latter is aimed at those with a quantitative or modelling interest that requires both a deep understanding of social security systems as well as relevant quantitative methods.
This Masters is designed for middle to senior level managers from across the public service, the public sector, regulators, as well as parastatals, development organisations, community-based organisations and unions. It also designed for those seeking a career in the field working on policy development. The programme is also relevant to voluntary organisations and those employed in regulated industries.
The curriculum of the MM-SSPMA aims to build multiple competencies critical for performing managers and policy analysts. Students are required to complete six compulsory courses structured around three foundational knowledge areas related to policy, management and financing of social security aside from the compulsory introduction and orientation course.
Once these foundations have been covered, students’ progress to the specialisation phase of their masters in which they will choose a research focus and complete an elective which supports their enquiry while at the same time completing three compulsory research courses designed to provide quantitative, qualitative and proposal writing skills.
In the final 6 months of the degree, participants will focus on the completion of the research phase of their degree.
This course is essential to understanding and complying with all the requirements of the overall degree.
Social security as a system of social protection has evolved over several hundred years, with far greater standardisation of values, norms, and mechanisms since 1945. This course examines which social policy objectives are pursued by social security mechanisms and why these are seen as important. It also draws out the relationship between institutional arrangements and areas of protection. Concepts such as social security, social protection and social protection floors are examined.
Social security contingencies and mechanisms have unique inter-related economic and public finance implications. This is a strong basic course in the relevant conceptual constructs together with real world examples. Social security interventions arise in large part due to failures in the abilities of ordinary communities or private markets to provide well-distributed social protection of sufficient quality. The course examines these failures in conjunction with the range of possible related government interventions. Mechanisms such as social insurance, earmarked taxes, and tax expenditure subsidies are reviewed.
Comparative systems analysis provides useful insights for social security policy in any country. This course reviews relevant social security systems as case-studies, incorporating both developing and industrialized country settings. In each case this includes an evaluation of how systems have evolved over time due to context-specific factors. The course provides an understanding of techniques and mechanisms and how to use this information in policy evaluation and development.
This course provides in-depth review of financing for the full range of potential social security financing mechanisms for non-contributory and contributory arrangements for all forms of protection including healthcare, pensions, death and invalidity, unemployment, and family support. The review covers theory and practice as well as the relationship to institutional, management and governance arrangements. The risks and risk mitigation mechanisms associated with each form of financing will also form part of the course. Aspects covered include: • Non-contributory mechanisms, including alternative modalities of targeting; • Contributory mechanism including: o Social insurance (healthcare, pensions and risk benefits); o Mandatory private insurance and pensions (healthcare, pensions and risk benefits); o Quasi mandatory arrangements; • Tax expenditure subsidies; • Hypothecated taxes; • Reserving and asset management; • Automatic stabilisation mechanism; and • Governance and accountability requirements.
Central to the achievement of social security goals is the institutional integrity of social security systems. This course reviews the conceptual and practical requirements for the achievement of well-functioning and responsive social security systems. This will include policy-determination and delivery and cover all forms of delivery platforms for all forms of social security.
Social security policy operates within contested terrain subject to tight budget constraints. Motivating for new programmes, or expansions to existing programmes requires exacting technical work and interaction with many roleplayers and stakeholders. This course provides a practical review of the context and requirements for developing policy in a real-world setting. This includes: business case development; stakeholder/roleplayer management; consultation principles and requirements; managing negotiations; and policy processes. Students will come out of this course with an understanding of the requirements for optimising policy development strategies and budget-bidding.
The course introduces participants to various approaches to designing and conducting qualitative research and analysing qualitative data. It focuses on selected research approaches to prepare participants to undertake qualitative research. Key topics include qualitative research paradigm assumptions, qualitative research designs/methods, various qualitative data gathering techniques, approaches and techniques for qualitative data analysis, ethics in conducting qualitative research and evaluating qualitative research.
This course takes as its baseline the learnings already achieved on the Analytical Methods course including sampling methodologies, and simple statistical interences including chi -square tests. This material will be briefely revised and move into quantitative survey methods, including survey design and questionnaire construction, and simple analysis. The course includes hypothesis testing, including power analysis and regression analysis including regression diagnostics. The course also covers the construction of research problem, purpose statements and research hypthesis for quantitative research proposals.
This course takes students that have gained a theoretical and conceptual understanding of research paradigms and processes, and moves them through a process of applying that learning to a real life research problem which will form the basis of their research report. The course takes participants through the phases of conceptualisation of a research topic, articulating it in terms of a problem identifying knowledge gap and context, and articulating the components of a research proposal including sampling techniques, design, methodology, limitations, and logistics. The outcome of this course is a research proposal which is ready for defence at a school proposal panel.
There are two elective components:
This course requires participants to engage in-depth with an area relevant to public or development management, and allows them to develop an in depth knowledge of the theories and literature that inform their topic. The course is delivered as a series of seminars in which the lecturer works with participants to develop a particular focus of enquiry into the theory and literature of an academic area.
Social security systems are themselves vulnerable to many contingent financial risks resulting from demographic change, changes in health status, changes in social behaviour, economic cycles, and long-term structural economic change. Social security systems are therefore subject to careful financial planning and ongoing financial evaluations. This course will provide skills in social security modelling sufficient required for the design of new programmes and the evaluation of existing programmes. Techniques for longitudinal modelling (important for pensions and healthcare) and microsimulation will be provided. Techniques for modelling difficult contingencies, such as unemployment, are also provided. In conjunction with these modelling techniques, the course offers a major focus on “social budgeting”. Social budgeting involves the development and maintenance of a system of national social accounts for all non-contributory and contributory social security programmes, including those provided through private providers.
Social security systems need managers capable of developing policy for and running large financial organisations. This course provides managers with the required range of skills to operate at a senior management position within any department or organisation responsible for any part of the system. This will include regulators and regulated private social security arrangements. This course includes strategy, culture, scenario analysis, managing people, performance, change, systems, operations, organisational development and human resources. The course focuses on managing the bureacracy to facilitate policy implementation across the broad mandate of the public sector, and interrogates the types of data and analysis that is required for decision making in organisations . The course will also include the development and validation of operational plans for effective and efficient delivery of services.
In order to obtain a Masters degree, you are required to complete a research project and submit a report. The aim of the research project is to challenge you to apply analytical and applied research techniques to a topic chosen from your area of specialisation. You will be assigned an adviser who will supervise and guide the preparation of the research report. The learning objective of the report is to give you an opportunity to demonstrate how you can self-manage a problem-solving exercise or research project on a topic of your own choice within limited time and resources.
Through the research report, you will demonstrate that you can design, execute, analyse and report on such work. You have to show that you can do this in a coherent and logical way, and meet the standards appropriate for an applied research project in an academic environment.
The MM-SSPMA is offered on a block release basis over two years.
Applying for the degree will provide students with a complete background in the field of social security including both theory and practice. Students who qualify will be in a position to work in management and policy positions within any part of the social security system. Those following the quantitative direction will be in a position to work on policy evaluation and modelling for any part of the system. Those following the management direction will have a complete understanding of the management requirements of any part of the social security system ranging from policy development to delivery institutions.
A detailed brochure can be downloaded here