A critical perspective on racial integration in a secondary school in KwaZulu-Natal : dots and dashes : patterns of co-existence.
The study is an exploration of the processes of racial integration within a school. The purpose of the study is twofold: 1. To understand the pattern, extent and nature of racial integration between learners in the classroom and on the playgrounds. 2. To determine whether there are any barriers that prevent the interaction of learners of different races. The school that was selected to participate in the research was an ex-House of Delegate's secondary school in KwaDuguza in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The participants in the study were the principal, two deputy principals, two level one educators and two focus groups of African and Indian learners. Each focus group was made up of six learners, two males and four females. They were representative of the gender and racial composition of the school. The research was a case study that used various qualitative methods of data collection. A questionnaire was administered to a selected sample of educators and learners to determine attitudes and perceptions of racial integration. These were followed up by semi-structured interviews that allowed the researcher to probe deeper into issues raised in the questionnaire. A week's observation schedule of learners in a classroom and the learners on the playground was conducted. This was followed by a review of school documents. The varied methods of data collection revealed that positive racial integration is not taking place in the school. Although the educators and the learners are aware of the need for a fundamental change in the policies, organization and curriculum of the school they are unsure of how these changes need to be effected and what the nature of the change should be. In the absence of any concrete directions from the Education Department, an 'adds on' approach to integration is used . The result of such an approach is the polarization of learners along racial lines. The study concludes with recommendations for educators and the Department of Education.