'n Gevallestudie van die effek van die herverdeling van mag op vroue wat op skoolbeheerliggame dien DIEN
Thesis (MEd (Education Policy Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
Policy is generally established to provide for specific needs. In South Africa, for example, the South African Schools Act of 1996 was introduced, among other reasons, to promote democratic transformation in society, to protect the rights of all learners, parents and educators and to facilitate their acceptance of responsibility for the organisation, control and financing of schools in partnership with the state (RSA, 1996b). The SA Schools Act, in accordance with which school governing bodies are constituted, endeavours to effect greater devolution of power from the state to local communities to offer these communities greater participation in the control and management of their schools. Analysis of national and international literature, however, indicates that democratic government policy does not always deliver the desired results in practice (MacLean, 2003). Policy intention and implementation are frequently far removed from the practical reality within which they should be effecting change. Policy implementation is frequently aimed at promoting democracy and equality but, in reality, results in the maintenance and even the strengthening of existing inequalities between élite and marginalised groups. It is not always in touch with the cultural, political and economic obstacles that women in particular have to overcome to be allowed to participate at the same level as men in decision-making processes and in the exercise of power. This study endeavours to determine the real effect of such decentralisation on women as one of the most marginalised groups. During the study, personal interviews were conducted with two selected women and followed up with a questionnaire, which brought to light another dimension to the concept of empowerment: that of the women each attaching her own meaning to the concept of power, which emanates from their different backgrounds in respect of, for example, culture, education and language. Decentralisation can therefore result in different effects, depending on the meaning attached to the concept in a specific context. Women do not see power simply as the making of decisions on issues such as the formulation of policy; they see the right to power and the meaning that they themselves give to power as empowering. It can therefore be said that decentralisation as a policy involves certain textual intentions (which the policy stipulates as text) but that it also involves a contextual intention, which is influenced by different backgrounds. The very fact that women are accorded a voice in forums such as school governing bodies can in itself be experienced as empowering due to the women's own conceptualisation of it. The differences in the interpretation of and meaning attached to the concept indicate a need for research that delves deeper than simply a focus on the number of women participating in local politics. More research is necessary to investigate the circumstances and policy implications of the participation of women. Such research could investigate aspects such as different contexts and people's different interpretations and conceptualisations, which could ultimately be anticipated in policy frameworks. Due cognisance of women’s expectations in respect of the decentralisation or the redistribution of school governing powers and the position of women in such spheres could well result in a greater contribution to the empowerment of women.