Principal's experiences and reflections on participation in the advanced certificate in education : a school leadership programme.
This thesis explored the experiences of five principals enrolled on the Advanced Certificate in Education: School Leadership henceforth referred to as ACESL, and their reflection on the programme in relation to their professional practice. The ACESL is a professional qualification programme that is currently funded by the Department of Education through a number of service providers. The paucity of research on the influence of management development programmes on the professional practice of principals formed the background to this study. In 1996, the Department of Education set up a Task Team to explore possibilities of such management development. The purpose of the programme was to provide structured learning opportunities that promote quality education in South Africa through the development of a corps of education leaders who apply critical understanding, values, knowledge and skills to school leadership and management within the vision of democratic transformation. This purpose points to the pivotal role of education leadership and management in transforming schools in South Africa. This research attempted to address this gap in knowledge by examining the experiences and reflections of principals on the ACESL programme and it also explored the influence of this programme on their professional practice. The study focussed on the subjective experiences of principals on the ACESL programme. This being the case, this research was located in an interpretivist, qualitative paradigm. The central intention of the interpretivist paradigm is to understand the subjective world of human experience. The findings of the research suggest that the experiences of the principals on the ACESL are largely positive. Some elements of the programme did give rise to negative experiences. The principals were unanimous in articulating the positive effect of the programme on their professional practice.