An investigation of constraints on the further professional development of teachers as curriculum decision-makers at Indian secondary schools in the Greater Durban Area.
Maharaj, Ghunsham Harriparsadh.
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The decade of the nineties has ushered in a period of socio-political transformation in South Africa. Demands for the democratisation of education imply that teachers will be expected to assume a more significant professional role, particularly with regard to curriculum decision-making. As a result of authoritarian curriculum policies and practices of the past, teachers have not had the same opportunities to participate in curriculum decision-making as their colleagues in many other countries (HSRC: 1981). This means that teachers in this country have, in the main, been forced to operate as 'restricted' professionals and will need to move towards a greater 'extended' professionality (Hoyle: 1980). However, the extent to which teachers are able to become more "extended" professionals will depend on the identification and removal of constraints on their further professional development in this regard. The primary aim of this study, therefore, was to investigate constraints on the further professional development of teachers as curriculum decision-makers within Indian secondary schools in the Greater Durban area. A stratified random sample, proportionally representing the three sub-populations of teachers (viz. Classroom Practitioners, Heads of Departments and Principals / Senior Deputy Principals / Deputy Principals), was drawn and a mailed questionnaire was used to survey attitudes and opinions pertinent to this study. The main findings that emerged from the survey were: 1. Whilst teachers themselves are desirous of becoming involved in curriculum decision-making at all levels, in most instances they are deprived of opportunities to participate in decision-making even at the micro-level of the school. 2. Whilst some principals tend to profess a very liberal and progressive view with regard to teacher participation in curriculum decision-making, in reality they adopt a very prescriptive and authoritarian style of management. 3. Pre-service and in-service education programmes for teachers do not adequately focus on teacher participation in curriculum decision-making. 4. Within-school constraints are exacerbated by a lack of clarity about the education department's stance on the matter of teacher participation in curriculum decision-making. The recommendations emanating from these findings were made principally with the House of Delegates' Department of Education and Culture in mind, but are likely to be applicable to all other existing departments of education in the country.