Doctoral Degrees (Education Policy Studies)

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 71
  • Item
    The leadership practices of non-traditional school principals
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Alston, Penelope Jane; Jansen, Jonathan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The issue that this study addresses is the silence in current scholarship dealing with nontraditional aspects of principal leadership. There seems to be a scarcity of empirical evidence which emphasises the human dimensions of principalship that validate the demanding, messy hour-to-hour and day-to-day work and the practices, skills, and experience that non-traditional leadership requires. To address this problem, the purpose of this study will be to explore school leadership in which human issues of frailty, emotion, and spirituality matter in the character and conduct of principal leaders. In the collection of data, I required a sample of school leaders who could offer rich descriptions relevant to the study and had enough trust in the researcher and the confidentiality of the process to participate openly and authentically. For these reasons, I used reputational sampling. The participants were interviewed to explore their recognised role as non-traditional leaders in their school community: school leaders who do things differently, and who stand out from other school leaders. The interviews were transcribed and analysed. The data led to the following seven themes, namely: Similar experiences of spirituality; The effect of universal beliefs; A sense of connectedness; The visible presence of humanness and care; Vulnerability as the transformative key to building trust; and The human capacity for nearness leadership; and Towards nearness leadership as a new identity. These themes are useful for understanding leadership through an alternative, new lens that challenges the unspoken understanding of the relationship between principal leaders and their school community. Moreover, it increases the probability that school leadership has a greater impact on organisational change when leadership practice is purposefully near. This study provides a conceptual nearness framework for innovative ways of practising and thinking about leadership. I propose that this research requires careful and ongoing attention to questions of nearness in schools where principal leaders create an environment in which all stakeholders flourish. The answer to the research questions does not end but offers new circumstances to explore the question of nearness leadership.
  • Item
    Die opvoedkundige navigasiepraktyke van leerders in 'n landelike laerskoolkonteks in beleerde omstandighede
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Heynes, Kim; Fataar, Aslam; Joorst, Jerome; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Education reform has been negotiated in complex ways in the South African context for more than two decades. The history of education in South Africa forms an important part of our socialisation and life approaches as citizens of the country, but specifically as individuals embedded in various educational communities within specific geographical contexts. This study examines the educational navigation practices of five primary school learners in a Stellenbosch rural farm context. Their educational navigation practices were explored by focusing on their use of their cultural and educational resources, specially how they constructed their aspirant educational pathways amidst their impoverished family context on the farms and in their schools. Given the limitations that the farm context as a social and educational ‘field’ imposes on them, these learners use various techniques to mediate the harsh circumstances of their living environments. To explore these learners' mediation of their educational pathways, I draw on the theoretical tools provided by Pierre Bourdieu, especially his concepts 'field', 'habitus' and 'capital'. I proceed to show how the learners make habitus shifts in their constrained field that enable them to build learning identities to counteract the limitations of the field, thereby opening a viable, yet complex, educational path. The study on which this thesis was based is founded on a multi-spatial ethnographic and interpretive methodological approach. I explored how the learners continue to show agency despite the limitations set. These learners show that they are active mediators of their context. They are active collaborators and speak against the structures of their life contexts. The thesis argues that the learners were able to build an educational pathway for themselves as foot soldiers of a two decade-old apartheid differentiation.
  • Item
    Analysing educational leadership in relation to deliberative democracy: towards a defffensible form of school leadership
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-12) Isaacs, Akeda; Waghid, Yusef; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Debates about developing a more equal society should consider evaluating the role of education by reimagining school leadership’s nature and scope in developing the foundations for a just society where human equality is an ideal norm. While there is a growing unease with the neoliberal agenda of education, visible through state policies and practices, not much research exists on school leadership’s role in developing cosmopolitan norms through a cosmopolitan- oriented education that enhances and teaches democratic citizens to thrive in a globalised world. I believe school leaders play a critical role in advancing social justice and democratic citizenry in education as they are ideally placed for developing and enacting just school policies and developing spaces for deliberation in the school environment. The current neo-liberal debates of leadership as an instrument of control and risk management has led to politicisation of school leadership’s role as one of compliance and local power distribution. More than two decades after democracy, South African schools continue to be poles apart. After apartheid, policy reforms facilitated the democratisation of schools addressing challenges of social justice through equity and redress. The Curriculum Assessment and Policy Statement (CAPS), developed as part of the democratisation process, emphasises the development of academic ability, but the implementation thereof reduces opportunities for critical thinking and deliberation in the classroom. The curriculum’s aim to deliver quality teaching and learning is not clearly evident with many learners struggling to read. Another decentralisation mechanism, school-based leadership, inclusive of governing bodies, was established to manage schools. Although, one of the main functions of the school governing bodies is the development of school policy in line with the constitution, research highlights the inequalities at school level. Two decades after apartheid, public schooling is tormented by dysfunctionality and increased violence. Learners most at risk of being affected by violence are from disadvantaged schools. Schools cannot be divorced from their communities and they carry the legacy of their apartheid histories. Democratisation through its policies, cannot obliterate the discourse of violence inherent in apartheid, unless the curriculum creates the space for different pedagogical encounters, and teacher training is adapted to address the challenges, and in so doing, creating alternative philosophies and worldviews. This dissertation explores the concept of forgiveness to frame deliberative encounters with others, creating a curriculum of refuge, thus paving the way for a re-orientating that can foster healing in a society with historical conflict between different groups. I advance an argument for reconceptualising the philosophical framework and foundational principles of school leadership via the inclusion of deliberative democracy, cosmopolitan education, and the concept of forgiveness in teaching and learning. The dissertation explores the concept of deliberative democracy and cosmopolitan education. Furthermore, it examines the commensurability with a defensible form of school leadership, examining the implications for the development of democratic citizens. I analyze the concept of deliberative democracy as a philosophical framework to assist leadership in understanding the practical implementation of the moral and ethical dimensions of schools. This deals with diversity, identity, and an understanding of the role of leadership in advancing democratic education systems. The dissertation explores the development of democratic citizenship, with its claims of justice for all individuals, as a prerequisite for cosmopolitanism, and for cosmopolitan education to develop the recognition and acknowledgement of rights and responsibilities. One of the research’s main findings is the role of school leadership with a cosmopolitan orientation, inclusive of deliberation and a social justice ethic, as a contributor to a democratic and more peaceful world. Another is the inclusion of forgiveness, as a concept and lived experience in pedagogy, contributing towards democratic education. Forgiveness taught as both a normative value and concept, and from the perspectives of the forgiver and perpetrator. The significance of its inclusion in the education of a pluralistic society, seeking to advance democracy and to live in a peaceful world, whilst recovering from the ravages of apartheid, colonisation and its consequences of continuing violence and poverty, is explored. I examine leadership’s role in creating cosmopolitan spaces for iterations and engagement to enable an understanding of the relationship of the self and the other. Iterations and engagements foster the development of critical thinking and imagining a peaceful, forgiving, and democratic society that can be shared.
  • Item
    A feminist critique of ubuntu : implications for citizenship education in Zimbabwe
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Simba, Precious; Davids, Nuraan, 1970-; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY : In 2015 the government of Zimbabwe announced the rollout of a new education policy that represented a curriculum overhaul at the primary and secondary school level. At the centre of this policy was the explicit introduction of ubuntu as a philosophy of education in Zimbabwe. This move took a cultural artefact and what was, until that time, an academic aspiration into policy. The move also represented the first time in Zimbabwe’s education history that an indigenous artefact would sit at the centre of mass education. About the same time, I was working for a girls’ education organisation in Bulawayo, where we were experiencing challenges of extending our feminist ideologies. The community would often ask us “but what about our culture, what about ubuntu?”. Policy changes at the national level and tension at a professional level sparked the commencement of this study and its central concern: bringing ubuntu into conversation with feminism. The central question guiding the study is: what is the feminist critique of ubuntu, and what are the implications of this critical assessment for citizenship education in Zimbabwe? In response, I unpack the notion of ubuntu in its multiple interpretations as an ethic, a philosophy, a notion enfolded in power and a framework of encounter. I use language as a vehicle of critique to read through the various interpretations. In researching an artefact like ubuntu in a context like Zimbabwe, the study employs a research orientation that is able to contend with knowledge that is not always part of the known archive, what Mbembe (2002) calls the archivable. The study is, therefore, guided by a decolonial-feminist research paradigm. The study is largely conceptual but supported by an empirical element in the form of narratives from eight female educators from Bulawayo. Being feminist in orientation, the study places the female voice at the centre of analysis; hence the educators’ conceptions of ubuntu in and out of the classroom add weight to the feminist critique of ubuntu. I use the power of stories and re-storying throughout the study but more so in chapter 5 to analyse and present the data from interviews conducted with the female educators. My original contribution to knowledge comes in the form of a new interpretation of ubuntu. I advance another interpretation of ubuntu to subvert the inconsistencies and shortfalls of interpretations that already fill academic literature. I argue for a view of ubuntu as a social framework that mediates the encounter with the other permitting the currency of power between encountering bodies and geared towards the establishment of relationship – ukama/ubuhlobo. The decolonial feminist critique of ubuntu sees an engendering risk in a narrow conception of ubuntu as a foundation of morality and by extension, moral education. The critique found opportunities for feminist solidarity in conceptions of ubuntu as a philosophy of interrelatedness. The interpretation of ubuntu as a framework of encounter advanced in the study gives feminist scholarship in education ways to harness the good from ubuntu, to interrogate the complex encounters and resist the toxic elements of pedagogical encounters beyond the surface of performative acts by touching on the conditions that sustain and produce them. The feminist critique of ubuntu demonstrated that there is a challenge in dislodging male-centred tendencies and privileges when ubuntu is prescribed narrowly (or neutrally as is the case in the new Zimbabwean policy) as a series of observable ethics. The critique evidenced the point that the moral in education is often enacted along gendered and engendering lines, hence reproducing set binaries rather than challenging them. An expanded interpretation of ubuntu as a framework of encounter informed by a social script or isintu opens an opportunity to re-write the social script along the lines of a feminist ethics of care.
  • Item
    The place-making pedagogical practices of teachers in an inclusive high school
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Rinquest, Elzahn; Fataar, Aslam; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY : This thesis explores the place-making pedagogical practices of six high school teachers at their special-needs school. The study investigates a link between space and identity, which provides a conceptual platform to investigate how teachers go about conceptualising their place-making in their school, with a specific focus on their pedagogical practices. The investigation focuses on understanding the historical unfolding of the school's institutional culture, how teachers position themselves with respect to the dominant discourses and culture at the school, and how they ‘made their place’ through their pedagogical practices outside of and in their classrooms. The theoretical framework is founded on Lefebvre's theory (1971/1991) on the production of space, which conceptualises the interaction of the physical, social and mental dimensions of space. I develop Lefebvre’s theory by using Bourdieu’s (1977) notion of habitus and Nespor’s (1997) theory related to bodies in space in order to research the specific practices of the selected teachers at the school. These conceptual lenses allowed me explore the specific culture of the school within its context and the subjective pedagogical practices of the teachers. This study is situated within the interpretivist paradigm and utilised an ethnographic research approach that produced findings based on qualitative data. Data were collected over a school year through the use of extensive participant observations as well as unstructured and semi-structured interviews. My findings reveal that the historically unfolding institutional culture of the school positioned the school and its teachers in specific ways. The school expressed its Afrikaans, Christian, ‘white tone’ through the ‘unwritten rules’ prevalent in its daily operations and its prestige as a leading specialneeds institution in South Africa. I argue that a discourse of managerialism had come to characterise the school’s adapted institutional tone, made up of the managerial practices associated with the institutional functioning of the school. The school’s institutional culture provided the context within which the agents (teachers) acted as active participants in the place-making processes at the school. Subsequently, as the teachers come immersed in the institutional culture, they activate facets of their accumulated dispositions and skills to establish their professional identities. Issues of class, race and age significantly impacted on each of the participating teachers’ personal and professional socialising processes, situating each in different ways in the school. I argue that these teachers project and express particular professional subjectivities that resulted from how they understood their place and expressed themselves in the school. The teachers repositioned themselves vis-à-vis the institutional culture through their individualised ways of acting and living in the school. Finally, the selected teachers established their place-making pedagogical practices within the limits of the institutional culture and their specific subjectivities in making a place at the school and in their classrooms. I argue that responding constructively to students’ special educational needs depends on the ability of the teacher to establish a teacher subjectivity that would enable them to embrace the challenge to teach to the wide variety of students in this inclusive special-needs school.