An investigation into tensions between principals and school governing body members in secondary schools in Inanda.
This research project addresses tensions between principals and School Governing Body members (SGBs) in secondary schools in the Inanda area. To understand such tensions, an interpretive approach was employed to gather data that informed our understanding of how tensions among target population affected the day to day running of secondary school. The two township secondary schools were purposefully selected in Inanda in KwaZuluNatal, South Africa. Selected schools were generally known for consistently having problems although the nature of those problems was not known. The study employed an interpretivist approach to interpret the participant's actions and their behaviour during the process of interviews. The findings from two cases confirmed the existence of tensions and also that such tensions did not enhance the quality of teaching and learning. The tensions were found in different categories such as tensions between principals and parents, and between principal and educator components of the SGB. Both schools had similar tensions which were located between the SGB members and their respective principals. Such tensions included poor involvement of stakeholders in the decision-making process, leadership style and lack of SGB structures such as school finance committee, interview committees and discipline committees. There were also internal factors which directly contributed to the tensions. These tensions were directly linked to the leadership style of the principal, understanding of school policies, struggle related to positions and poor communication among the organisational members. The Department of Education (DoE) has been reluctant to intervene even when it has been alerted to serious problems which could undermine the smooth running of schools. It is therefore recommended that the DoE officials should play an active role in resolving some of the critical challenges facing these schools.