Leadership and management of classrooms with orphans and vulnerable children : a study of three primary schools in Lesotho.
Lehlaha, 'Makabelo Melida.
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With introduction of Free Primary Education in Lesotho, teachers are now leading and managing classrooms with increased numbers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). This study seeks to understand how teachers lead and manage classrooms with OVC. It explores the experiences of teachers who lead and manage classrooms with OVC, and the support they receive from School Management Committees (SMCs) in their leadership and management of classrooms with OVC. Transformational leadership and democratic classroom management theories are used as theories underpinning the study. The study is located within the interpretive paradigm. It employs a qualitative approach. The data was collected from three primary schools in the Leribe dissemination centre in Lesotho. One community school and two church schools were sampled. Nine participants (3 from each school) were purposively selected. One teacher each was selected from the three different levels of teaching from each primary school. Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions were used to generate data. The findings reveal that teachers experience increased existence of poverty among OVC, which is illustrated by severe hunger, lack of basic requirements like food, clothing and educational support. Teachers have formulated different strategies to deal with these issues in their classrooms. When difficult issues arise the principals play an important role in helping the teachers. Unfortunately, there is less support for teachers from other SMC members.