Masters Degrees (Education Policy Studies)

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    The perceived roles and competencies for distance educators employed by a private higher education institution
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Wiese, Sandra; Tshuma, Nompilo; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Education educators need to fulfil new roles and competencies as traditional teaching techniques cannot simply be transferred to the distance education environment. Educators need assistance in clarifying their new roles in order to address the challenges brought about by the differences between traditional learning environments and distance education. Numerous studies have been conducted on roles and competencies in distance education in the USA, Canada, Australia and India. In the South African context, such studies have been situated within the context of one public mega open distance learning university, namely the University of South Africa. To date, research regarding the roles of educators in private higher education institutions is limited. Therefore, the focus of this study was an attempt to fill the gap in the literature regarding the roles and competencies of private distance educators. The results will form the basis for the future development of a framework for academic staff development in private distance higher education. The study employed a survey design using a quantitative web-based questionnaire to gather data on the perceived roles and competencies of distance educators employed by a private higher education institution. The respondents were firstly required to indicate their perceived importance of the eight roles according to the Online Instructor Roles and Competencies which was developed by Martin et al. 2021, and, secondly, their perceived competency in each role. The study indicated that private distance education educators perceived all eight role categories as important and viewed their role competency in the following descending order: subject matter expert, course designer and developer, assessor/evaluator, advisor/mentor, course facilitator, technology expert, course manager, and lifelong learner. The respondents found the roles of advisor/mentor and course facilitator the most challenging. Respondents perceived the role of advisor or mentor as challenging mainly because advisors and mentors struggled to encourage students to engage with the resources and announcements on the Learning Management System. The findings in the study will be utilised to develop an induction programme covering the eight academic roles and addressing the challenges faced by distance educators who work online.
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    The reflective account of the leadership and management practices of four primary school principals during the COVID-19 pandemic
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Roberts, Jamie Jeanette; Feldman, Jennifer ; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aimed to understand how school principals led and managed their schools during the 2020 and 2021 COVID-19 pandemic. It provides an in-depth interpretation and analysis utilising relevant literature and Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and field to investigate the school principals’ leadership and management practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study followed a qualitative research method located in the interpretivism paradigm where the participants were purposefully selected. The principals selected to partake in the study were school leaders who led and managed their schools during the 2020/1 pandemic period. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews in the comfort of the school principal’s office. School principals are responsible for the schools’ daily functioning and were at the forefront of dealing with the pandemic crisis. The analysis of how principals led and managed their schools during the pandemic, within the diversity of their context, provides an understanding of the complexity of school leaders' leadership and management practices. The findings revealed that throughout the 2020 and 2021 pandemic, school principals led and managed their schools according to their previous educational and leadership and management experiences. Drawing on Bourdieu, the study shows how their previous experiences informed their dispositional ways of thinking and being which impacted their practices as leaders and managers during the pandemic conditions. Thus, the thesis responds to the main research question: What do the reflective accounts of four primary school principals in diverse contexts reveal about leading and managing a school during a crisis?
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    An auto-ethnographical account of curriculum flexibility in primary school science in relation to CAPS policy
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Tryon, Tania Adelle ; Jansen, Jonathan D. ; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is an auto-ethnographical account of my experiences as a teacher teaching CAPS in a primary school science classroom. This study aimed to investigate whether, and if so, to what extent the CAPS curriculum limited my ability as a teacher to experience curriculum flexibility in terms of allowing me to adapt the curriculum content to suit the needs of learners in my class. Furthermore, what strategies and approaches have I put in place to address my challenges of curriculum flexibility in the CAPS curriculum? Data gathered for this study indicate that the strict adherence to the topic coverage timeframes outlined in the CAPS policy, a teacher’s autonomy to make decisions about the pace at which they teach content in accordance with learner needs, is restricted. The study also indicates that teacher subject knowledge and pedagogical skills are key factors determining the extent to which the teacher can create opportunities for curriculum flexibility within the CAPS curriculum. The study recommends that for teachers to experience curriculum flexibility within the CAPS curriculum requires a less stringent approach to the implementation of curriculum content, as the timeframes outlined in policy are not necessarily always in line with the needs of the learners in a class. Therefore, teachers should have the ability to adapt and adjust the pace of their teaching and the delivery of content to suit learners' needs and should not solely comply with policy guidelines and timeframes.
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    The impact of Umalusi’s quality assurance and accreditation process on principals and educators at independent schools.
    (2023-12) Fowler, Melissa; Davids, Nuraan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study examined the effect of Umalusi’s quality assurance and accreditation procedure on sixteen principals and teachers from four different independent schools in South Africa’s Western Cape province. Using purposive sampling, the four schools chosen for this study revealed that the participants did not believe Umalusi had any positive impact on the quality of education in their schools. Instead, the implementation of Umalusi’s policies resulted in increased workloads for teachers, who were required to provide evidence of policy implementation. A shift towards compliance instead of core teaching responsibilities was noted. Despite the South African Constitution and education law supporting independent schools, Umalusi’s accreditation process is perceived to hinder the establishment of new schools. The quality assurance and accreditation processes are overcomplicated and come with high application fees, which can lead to costly implications for non-compliance. The current legislation and regulations do not allow Umalusi to accredit special needs schools that adapt the CAPS, resulting in a one-size-fits-all approach that does not suit all schools. Additionally, Umalusi was perceived to hold independent schools to a higher standard of accountability than the standard of accountability that the education department requires from public schools. While participants were negative towards Umalusi, they acknowledged the necessity of external evaluation and monitoring of independent schools, specifically to protect vulnerable parents. The study highlighted the importance of schools committing to Umalusi’s quality assurance process to enhance the overall quality of education genuinely. Principals are crucial in ensuring teachers’ adherence to Umalusi’s policies, which requires a positive attitude towards Umalusi. Moreover, the findings indicate that teachers’ buy-in regarding the value of quality assurance systems within their schools is vital to prevent superficial implementation of QA measures designed to improve education quality. Teachers’ buy-in is dependent on their principals’ attitudes and commitment to establishing effective QA processes.
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    The impact of household poverty on learners’ academic performance at a Cape Winelands school.
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) October, Wade; Davids, Nuraan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Education Policy Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aimed to explore the impact of household poverty on the learner’s academic performance at a Cape Winelands school. Employing a qualitative, phenomenological case study design, the objectives of the study were to understand how the National Norms and Standards for School Funding (NNSSF) policy (DBE, 2006) is implemented in rural schools; gain insights into the academic challenges experienced by learners in a rural context; and explore the dynamics of the rural school and the learners within their communities.The data for this study was constructed from a purposively selected sample of six learners, two teachers and six parents/guardians of the learners from a primary school. In addition to conducting focus group interviews with the six learners and semi-structured interviews with the teachers and parents/guardians, the data from these interviews were analysed in conjunction with the NNSSF policy (DBE, 2006). Academic performance, household poverty and the rate of poverty in South Africa cannot be divorced from its political histories, such as the Bantu Education Act and the segregation in terms of the Group Areas Act. These policies affected the livelihoods of many parents post-1994. This resulted in many inequalities in terms of employment and educational regress in terms of the current population groups. Within this research, parents' unemployment is strongly linked to their lack of education. In many instances, both parents were unemployed and illiterate, and a culture of poverty developed within these households. This study differentiates itself from other studies on poverty as it focuses on household poverty, which aligns with the manifestation of family dynamics. The learners are put in the middle, and all negative effects of family dynamics influence the development of those learners within the school. The school seems to be the safest place for these learners, although many are driven away from school due to ill-discipline within the classroom. They often drop out and become part of many social problems within the community. This study found that most parents are unlikely to help their children due to their low levels of literacy. This study recognised that it is imperative to note that schools in rural communities continue to face tremendous challenges ranging from overcrowded, rundown classrooms, and low access to technological resources. At the centre of this, redress is the NNSSF policy (DBE, 2006), which is expected to address the past injustices in terms of inequality, but as is evident from this study, fails to achieve its stated objectives. In turn, implementation of the NNSSF policy seems to be neglected in rural schools. Teachers do not know about the NNSSF policy and how it affects their teaching at the school. This study found that the lack of teachers, resources, and classroom space impacts learners' academic performance to such an extent that they cannot read or write according to their grade level. Learners are being left behind, and no additional academic attention is given to those learners within the classroom. The learners' builds up an academic backlog, increasing as the learners move from grade to grade. Teachers become demotivated within the school and overloaded with tasks other than educating learners. The rural school must be seen as a community-based school. The school should manifest itself within the community as a place of excellence where learning and teaching prosper. This can only be done with the support of the parents at the school. The school's leadership should take cognisance of the community's diversity and form private partnerships to generate some additional income. This will also allow the school to become self-sufficient and function independently. This study also encourages a framework for rural schools to be drafted to allow for integration within the different communities.