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ERIC Number: EJ826592
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0620
Perceptions of the Principal's Role in Democratic School Governance in South Africa
Mncube, Vusi
Journal of Educational Administration and History, v41 n1 p29-43 Feb 2009
This article explores governors' perceptions of the role played by school principals in the democratic governance of secondary schools in South Africa. The South African Schools Act No. 84 of 1996 has mandated that all public schools in South Africa must have democratically elected school governing bodies, comprised of the principal (in his or her official capacity), educators, non-teaching staff, parents and learners, but the latter is applicable only in secondary schools. This reform is intended to foster tolerance, rational discussion and collective decision-making. In the light of this reform an empirical study investigated the role of the principal in the school governing body (SGB), particularly in promoting parent and learner participation in SGBs. The findings highlighted the important functions that principals fulfil with regard to the functioning of the SGB. Principals are viewed by governors as playing a positive role in SGBs. Governors referred to principals as "the finger on the pulse of what is happening at school"; they are resource persons for other members of the SGBs and "the engines" of the schools. Governors viewed the principal as in charge of the professional management of the school, ensuring that all duties are carried out adequately, setting the tone in SGB meetings, and responsible for interpreting education policies and ensuring that they are well implemented. Furthermore, principals have the responsibility of ensuring the maximum participation of both parent and learner governors in SGBs meetings. Principals can also contribute greatly to school governance issues, since they are usually at an advantage in terms of their familiarity with official regulations, provincial directives and knowledge of educational reform measures. The findings highlighted persistent power struggles in rural schools that may arise when principals overplay their roles as this creates tension among SGB members. However, principals enabled implementation of democratic values such as tolerance, rational discussion and collective decision-making in schools through their leadership roles. (Contains 54 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa