An exploration of the attitudes of grade ten learners at an ex-model C school towards racial integration.
The primary aim of this study was to explore the attitudes of grade ten learners towards racial integration at an ex-Model C school in the suburb of Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal. In addition, the study ventured to explore the influence of variables such as race, age, gender and scholastic achievement on learners' attitudes towards integration. Finally, the study aimed to establish learners' perceptions of the difficulties and benefits of integrated schooling, as well as their suggestions to improve school integration. The Pupils' Attitude to Integration Questionnaire was used to gather data from 172 learners, of whom 82 were males and 90 were females. The questionnaire yielded both quantitative and qualitative data that provided insight into the attitudes learners held towards integration. Interviews were also conducted with 12 learners. The researcher was, thereby, able to establish the difficulties and benefits of integration for learners, and their suggestions to improve racial integration at schools. Interview responses were qualitatively analysed and emergent themes extracted. Evidence from the data revealed that, generally, learners held positive attitudes towards integrated schooling. Furthermore, their attitudes were significantly influenced by race, gender and scholastic achievement. Age was not a significantly influential variable. In terms of the results, Coloured learners were most positive regarding racial integration, followed by Black, Indian and White learners. Girls revealed more positive attitudes than boys. Learners with average and above average symbols were more positive than those with below average symbols. Results of the interviews indicated that learners were experiencing more difficulties than benefits in respect of integration. Nevertheless, some learners did offer suggestions to improve integrated schooling. The outcomes of this study were analysed within the context of both international and local literature. Theories of attitude formation as well as theories of racist attitude formation were used in an attempt to explain the results obtained. The study concluded with recommendations for learners, educators, parents and the community at large, to facilitate the cultivation of positive attitudes towards the integration of races. It is anticipated that this research endeavour will not only contribute to an awareness of the challenges of racial integration in schools in South Arica, but will also provide insight into the pivotal role played by significant others and society, in general, in the formation of positive racial attitudes.