Institutional transformation in the post-apartheid era : an ethnography of one high school in KwaZulu-Natal.
In this thesis the mandate of the newly elected government in 1994 to transform the apartheid-based system of educationprovides the opportunity for examining institutional transformation in South African schools. The impetus is the transformative goals which foreground access to education, democracy in education, quality in education and equity and redress in education provision for all South Africans. One high school in KwaZulu-Natal provided the data and context for the study which focused on institutional transformation after the first democratic elections in 1994. The goal was to examine the institutional culture within the school to give meaning and insight into the process and progress of institutional transformation and how this aligned with the transformative goals articulated in educational policy under the direction of the new Constitution of South Africa. A range of data collection methods were used as a means to examine questions regarding institutional culture and institutional transformation. Data was generated at one high school, previously classified as a ‘Coloured’ school by the apartheid government. Data generation methods comprised in-depth individual semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with nineparticipants, field notes taken during participant observations and school documents around institutional culture and institutional transformation. Old apartheid ideologies of race and practices of power, segregation and discrimination caused participants to understand apartheid discourse as a link of race and power hierarchies. Remnants of such discourses continue within the institutional culture of the school, propagating the conjunction of race and power in particular, in spite of the mandate to transform from an apartheid-based education system. In the post-apartheid era new democratic discourses and practices within institutional culture have emerged that redesign institutional culture and social relations at the school alongside pre-1994 apartheid discourses and practices. Hence, this thesis concludes that these conflicting discourses and practices reflect a tension between stagnancy and change, and a discursive uncertainty as to whether institutional culture steeped in old, apartheid ideologies and practices ornew, democratic ideologies and practices will be stronger in determining the process and progress of institutional transformation at the school going forward.Therefore, this study proposes a social role continuum with different points along the continuum in order to help identify where along the continuum schools are positioned as determined by their institutional culture.