The school as a learning organisation : educators' perceptions at a high school in the central Durban area.
1994 heralded in a new dispensation for South Africa. The change from an apartheid system to one of democracy brought with it much hope and excitement for the future. In terms of education there was need to transform the system so as to enable it to prepare the nation to embrace this democracy. So from 1994 the national dept of education has refocused the vision and direction of the South African Education system through policies, initiatives and innovations (Thurlow; 2003). However, 10 years later and education is still struggling to come to terms with and cope with our changing society. In respect of these changes in our education, the task team on education management development for schools suggests that schools move to becoming learning organisations. This study focuses on Bechet, a high school in the Durban Central Region of the Kwa Zulu Natal department of Education. This school is a co educational urban school (previously under the control of the House of Representatives). It is a school in South Africa which has a past shaped by our countries past. They too have been exposed to these recent innovations in education. In this study an attempt was made to ascertain the principal's perception as well as the perceptions of the educators of their school in respect of it being considered a learning organisation. It then proceeds to compare the two perceptions, to hopefully identify areas of strength as well as challenges to improve the school. The research revealed that the school does display some of the characteristics of learning organisations. However a discrepancy was identified between the perceptions of the staff and those of the principal with regard to how effective the school was in embracing the changes. In this regard the characteristic of leadership spewed out the greatest discrepancy as the principal believed himself to be a good leader with an open door policy, whilst the staff's perception was that of him not being available. They perceived the leadership style to be autocratic.