School governing bodies from the perspectives of the rural parent governors and school principals in the Vryheid region

Ntshangase, Doctor Mbukeni (2002-12)

Thesis (M Phil)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The 1996 South African Schools Act witnessed a growth of local democratic influence on school governance throughout the country. The system of school governance in South Africa has undergone recent changes through this Act which, in effect, ensured that each school had its own governing body and took the first steps to standardise membership to include educators, non-educator staff, learners (in grade 8 or above) and parents. Despite the appropriateness of parental representation, there are still misunderstandings, confusion and conflicts with regard to the role of parent governors in democratic school governance. The rationale behind this study was to reveal both parent governors' and principals' perceptions of the powers and responsibilities allocated by the South African Schools Act of 1996 to each stakeholder group of the SGB. The writer of this study was an educator, resident in Vryheid and with significant firsthand teaching experience in schools in rural and semi-rural areas of the region, as well as experience as a member of an SGB. This experience has made him keenly aware that perceptions play an important role in participative school governance. The purpose of the research was therefore to investigate parent governors' as well as principals' perceptions of their role and responsibilities in democratic school governance. This study followed literature study as well as empirical investigation in revealing parent governors' and principals' perspectives of SGBs. A literature study provided the basis for analysis and clarification of important concepts. Another perspective was gained by an empirical study of a sample of fifteen schools in the rural areas of the Vryheid region. The findings led to the conclusion that SGBs were widely accepted as legitimate and worthwhile structures but there were specific important needs for training and capacitybuilding. The findings also revealed that parents in rural areas appear to find it very difficult to become involved in educational life of schools and are especially reluctant to serve on SGBs. Reasons for this apparent apathy were found to lie in problems of illiteracy and feelings of ignorance and inferiority. These conclusions enabled the researcher to make specific recommendations for improving the role and functioning of SGBs. Recommendations were made for improving the role of parent governors and principals as well as for capacity-building relating to the needs of each stakeholder group. A particular emphasis of these unique needs of rural communities should be met. This was seen as a priority in order to improve education in these historically underdeveloped areas and in so doing promote the growth of democratic school governance in the rural areas of the Vryheid region.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse Skolewet van 1996 het die weg gebaan vir die groei van plaaslike, demokratiese invloed op skoolbeheer dwarsdeur die land. Die stelsel van skoolbeheer in Suid-Afrika het onlangs veranderings ondergaan deur middel van hierdie wet, wat by implikasie, verseker het dat elke skool sy eie Skoolbeheerliggaam (SBL) verkry het en die eerste stappe gebaan om lidmaatskap te standaardiseer, ten einde opvoeders, nie-opvoederpersoneel, leerders (graad agt en hoër) en ouers in te sluit. Ten spyte van die paslikheid van ouerverteenwoordiging, is daar nog wanpersepsies, verwarring en konflikte met betrekking tot die rol van ouerbeheerliggaamlede in demokratiese skoolbestuur. Die rasionaal vir hierdie studie was om die persepsies van beide ouerbeheerliggaamlede en skoolhoofde, rakende die gesag en verantwoordelikhede wat die SA Skolewet van 1996 aan elke belangegroep binne die SBL toegeken het, bloot te lê. Die outeur van hierdie studie was 'n opvoeder, gevestig in Vryheid, en met aansienlike, eerstehandse onderwyservaring van plattelandse en semi-plattelandse streke in die gebied, sowel as ervaring as 'n lid van 'n SBL. Hierdie ervaring het hom intens bewus gemaak dat die persepsies 'n belangrike rol in skoolbeheer speel. Die doel van hierdie navorsing was dus om ouerbeheerliggaamlede sowel as skoolhoofde se persepsies en hul rol binne demokratiese skoolbestuur te ondersoek. Hierdie studie het gebruik gemaak van literatuurstudie sowel as empiriese ondersoek om die persepsies van skoolbeheerliggaamlede en skoolhoofde rakende SBLe bloot te lê. 'n Literatuurstudie het die basis verskaf vir die analise en verheldering van belangrike konsepte. 'n Verdere perspektief is verkry deur 'n empiriese studie van 'n steekproef bestaande uit 15 skole in die Vryheid-gebied. Uit die bevindinge is daar tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat SBLe oor 'n wye spektrum as legitieme en waardevolle strukture aanvaar is, maar daar was spesifieke, belangrike knelpunte wat opleiding en kapasitiet noodsaak. Die bevindinge het ook getoon dat ouers in plattelandse gebiede dit blykbaar moeilik vind om by die onderwyslewe van skole betrokke te raak en veral teësinnig is om in die SBLe te dien. Daar is bevind dat hierdie oënskynlike apatie gesetel is in probleme soos geletterdheid en gevoelens soos onkunde en minderwaardigheid. Hierdie gevolgtrekkings het die navorser in staat gestel om spesifieke aanbevelings vir die verbetering van die rol en funksionering van SBLe te maak. Verdere aanbevelings is gemaak om die rol van ouerbeheerliggaamlede en skoolhoofde, sowel as die bou van kapasiteit, verwant aan die behoeftes van elke belangegroep, te verbeter. 'n Besondere nadruk van hierdie aanbeveling was om wee te vind waarvolgens die unieke behoeftes van plaaslike gemeenskappe aangespreek kan word. Dit is as 'n prioriteit beskou ten einde onderwys in hierdie histories-onderontwikkelde streke te verbeter en deur middel daarvan, die groei van demokratiese skoolbeheer in die plaaslike streke van die Vryheidgebied te bevorder.

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