Investigating middle management roles in implementing the new curriculum at Grade 10-12 level : a case of two schools in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
Nxumalo, Velile Nicholas.
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This research sought to investigate middle management‟s roles in implementing the new curriculum at grade 10 -12 levels; it involved a small qualitative study of two schools in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. At a policy level, the role of middle managers at school level in South Africa has changed. The transformation of the curriculum in South Africa placed a need in all spheres of the education system to be flexible and innovative in accepting change. In fact this need for change is mostly required by the middle management of the schools who bear the brunt of working with teachers and learners in implementing the new curriculum. Hence this qualitative study was undertaken to investigate their roles. In investigating the topic the following three questions were considered as of critical importance in understanding middle managers roles in the new curriculum. The first question explored middle managers‟ main roles in implementing the new curriculum. Secondly it explored how middle managers responded to the current reform process at the FET level, and lastly it investigated how middle managers intertwined assessment in implementing the new curriculum. The review of the literature focused on curriculum implementation internationally and locally and also explored the role of the middle managers as leaders and managers in the curriculum implementation process. The study took place in two rural schools and participants included four middle managers (three heads of department and one principal). Data were collected using semi-structured questionnaires and interviews. A selection of documents (planning and teaching documents) was also collected for analysis. In a nutshell analysis revealed that endeavours were made towards the planning process. There was a presence of the subject framework, work schedule and the lesson plan. This indicated that the initial process of designing the learning programmes was being done. However, data revealed that middle managers fulfilled a management rather than leadership function. Their roles consisted largely of curriculum implementation processes at the expense of curriculum innovation and change. Barriers included a lack of time for proper planning and innovation due to a full teaching load as well as a lack of training by the Department of Education in the area of curriculum development and innovation.