The challenges of whole school evaluation for school governing bodies in Hlabisa district Kwazulu Natal Province

Ntombela, M. A. (2004-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa has a long history of apartheid and other forms of unfair discrimination in education. In the past there were separate and unequal school and education systems based on ethnicity, race and colour. Following the democratic elections of April 1994 a new era in education commenced. The education system was transformed to a unitary system and a programme of legislation was launched aimed at promoting democratic ideals and practices. Of particular importance to schools was the South African Schools Act (Act No 84 of 1996), which granted significant powers to school governing bodies (SGBs) at local level. The composition of SGBs was based on elected representation from four main stakeholder groups, namely parents (in the majority), educators, non-educator staff and learners (in Grade 8 or above), plus the principal ex officio. The powers and functions granted to SGBs were intended to promote participative decision-making, a sense of ownership and responsibility aimed at promoting the best interests of the school. The innovation of SGBs had far-reaching potential to improve school effectiveness and more importantly to contribute to the growth of democracy in South Africa. In 2001, aimed specifically at ensuring quality education, the government introduced the National Policy on Whole Schools Evaluation (WSE). The policy unified and integrated previous approaches to school and teacher assessment and was centred on a school-based and holistic approach to the monitoring and improvement of school quality. Using objective criteria and performance indicators on nine areas of functioning, the WSE model relied on an ongoing process of school self-evaluation, supported by external auditing and feedback, leading to each school having a school development plan (SDP). Ownership and direction of this was envisaged to be an important responsibility of SGBs. In this way, school improvement and educational quality became strategically linked to effective school governance. As an educator in the Senior Secondary School phase, the researcher has gained fruitful insights into schools in the rural and semi-rural areas of Hlabisa District in the province of KwaZulu Natal. This first-hand experience has made him keenly aware of problems and challenges for SGBs in fulfilling their role in implementing the processes of monitoring and evaluating school performance in line with WSE. The research therefore aimed to contribute to a better understanding of the particular needs of SGBs in meeting the requirements ofWSE. The research was structured therefore around two aspects: firstly, a conceptual and policy analysis that tried (a) to identify and explain significant concepts relevant to understanding both school governance and school evaluation and (b) to identify and explain the legislative and policy context by dealing with the relevant documents. This included a brief explanation and contrast of the policy approaches to governance and school assessment in the pre-1994 and post-1994 dispensations. The second, more empirical part of the study aimed to investigate the experience of SGBs in practice, by using questionnaires and interviews to collect data from a sample of ten schools in the Hlabisa district. Based on the responses collected the researcher was able to conclude that there are many positive signs of healthy development in school governance in the schools sampled. Particular challenges were also identified relating to the needs of SGBs in order to implement WSE programmes successfully. These challenges included drawbacks caused by illiteracy among school governors, the need for more effective training of SGBs in reaching a full understanding of the governance rights and responsibilities, and the need to bring about a more inclusive participation of all stakeholders, especially also by learners and non-educator staff in exercises such as WSE. In the light of these challenges, the study was able to make certain practical recommendations and suggest questions for future research on the role of school governance in improving school effectiveness through the Whole School approach.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika het 'n lang geskiedenis van apartheid en ander vorme van onregverdige diskriminasie in die onderwys, insluitend afsonderlike en ongelyke skole en onderwysstelsels gebasseer of ras, kleur en etnisiteit. Die demokratiese verkiesing van April 1994 het 'n nuwe onderwysbedeling ingelei deur die onderwysstelsel tot 'n unitêre sisteem te transformeer en 'n reeks wetgewing te loots om demokratiese ideale, waardes en praktyk te vestig. Van spesifieke belang vir skole was die Suid-Afrikaanse Skolewet (Wet Nr 84 van 1996), wat nuwe magte aan skoolbeheerliggame (SBLs) op plaaslike vlak oorgedra het. Die samestelling van SBLs is gebasseer op die deelname van verkose verteenwoordigers vanuit vier groepe belanghebbendes, naamlik ouers (in die meerdeheid), opvoeders, nie-opvoeder personeel en leerders (in Graad 8 of hoër), en die skoolhoof ex officio. Die magte en funksies aan SBLs toegewys, is daarop ingestel om deelnemende besluitneming en verantwoordelikheid te bevorder, gerig op die bevordering van die algemene belang van die skool. Die instelling van SBLs het verreikende potensiaal om skooleffektiwiteit te verbeter en, nog belangriker, om by te dra tot die groei van demokrasie in Suid-Afrika. In 2001 het die regering die 'National Policy on Whole Schools Evaluation' (WSE) ingevoer, spesifiek gerig op die verhoging van skoolgehalte. Dit het 'n eenvormige benadering geskep wat vorige benaderings tot skool- en opvoederassessering geïntegreer het. Die WSE-model is 'n skoolgebasseerde en holistiese benadering om skoolgehalte te moniteer en verbeter deur gebruik te maak van objektiewe kriteria en prestasie-indikatore m.b.t. nege fasette van funksionering. Die model maak staat op 'n voortgesette proses van skool-selfevaluering, ondersteun deur eksterne departementele ouditering en terugvoer, met die oog op die opstel en handhawing van 'n skool-ontwikkelingsplan (SOP). Die eienaarskap en bestuur van die proses word in die beleidsdokumente beoog as 'n belangrike verantwoordelikheid van SBLs. Op hierdie wyse word skoolverbetering en doeltreffende skoolbeheer strategies gekoppel. As opvoeder in die Senior Sekondêre skoolfase het die navorser vrugbare insigte in skole in die landelike en half-landelike gebiede van die Hlabisa-distrik in die provinsie van KwaZulu Natal bekom. Hierdie eerste-handse ervaring het 'n sterk waardering by hom tuisgebring t.o.v. die probleme en uitdagings vir SGLs om hulle verantwoordelikhede na te kom om die prosesse van monitering en evaluering van skoolprestasie uit te voer in lyn met die verwagtinge rondom WSE. Die onderliggende doel van die navorsing was dus om 'n bydrae te lewer tot 'n beter begrip van die spesifieke behoeftes van SBLs om aan die vereistes van WSE te voldoen. Die metodologie van die studie maak gebruik van twee hoofperspektiewe. Eerstens word 'n konseptuele en beleidsanaliese aangepak wat (a) poog om kernbegrippe te identifiseer t.o. v. 'n voldoende begrip van sowel skoolbeheer as skoolevaluering, en (b) poog om die wetgewende en beleidskontekste te omskryf aan die hand van die relevante dokumente. Dit sluit in 'n beknopte verduideliking en kontrastering van die beleidsbenaderings tot skoolbeheer en skoolevaluering tydens die voor-1994 en die na-1994 bedelings. Die tweede, meer empiriese deel van die studie is daarop gemik om die belewenis in die praktyk van SBLs te ondersoek. Vraelyste en onderhoude is gebruik om gegewens van respondente by 'n monster van tien skole in Hlabisa-distrik te versamel. Die antwoorde op die empiriese ondersoek het die navorser in staat gestel om tot die gevolgtrekking te kom dat daar heelwat positiewe tekens is van gesonde ontwikkeling in skoolbeheer onder skole in die bepaalde gebied. Besondere uitdagings is ook geïdentifiseer m.b.t. spesifieke behoeftes by SBLs om hulle in staat te stel om die WSE-programme doeltreffend te kan implementeer. Sulke uitdagings sluit die volgende in: die belemmerende invloed op skoolbeheer van ongeletterdheid on SBL lede, die behoefte aan meer effektiewe opleiding van SBLs rondom die regte en verantwoordelikhede van skoolbeheer, en die behoefte om meer inklusiewe deelname van alle belanghebbendes in skoolbeheer te bewerkstellig, veral dié van leerderverteenwoordigers en nie-opvoeder lede in prosesse soos WSE. In die lig van die geïdentifiseerde uitdagings, maak die studie sekere praktiese aanbevelings en word voorstelle gemaak vir verdere navorsing t.o.v. die rol van skoolbeer in die verhoging van skooleffektiwiteit d.m.v. die WSE-benadering.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50121
This item appears in the following collections: