An investigation into the management of discipline : an exploratory study in a Chatsworth secondary school of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.
Every educational institution depends on people behaving in acceptable ways for its success. Bad behaviour not only hinders and disrupts the educational process but also poses a fundamental threat to the culture and identity of the institution and to those who behave well. This aspect emerged in the report by the Task Team on Education Management Development, initiated by the National Minister of Education in February 1996 entitled Changing Management to Manage Change in Education. In its characterisation of the educational legacy of apartheid, the report highlighted concerns with the breakdown of the culture of teaching and learning in certain schools and acknowledged that poor discipline impacts on the disintegration of learning environments. It further emphasised that good school discipline is an important feature of any effective school. In addition, the importance of sound discipline in the running of effective schools has been acknowledged as one of the recommendations of the South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996, which stipulates that the governing body of each school formulates a Code of Conduct, the purpose of which is to create a well-organised school so that effective learning and teaching take place; to promote self discipline; to encourage good behaviour and to regulate conduct. There is general agreement that while the process of drawing up the requisite Code of Conduct is an important element in the management of discipline, it is no more than a first step. What is required in each school is the establishment of a strategic management plan, extracted from the school's vision of a safe and secure environment for all. Drawing from this vision the emerging development plan, for the management of discipline, will incorporate strategies from a range of players whose roles inter-relate in the maintenance of discipline: e.g. learners, educators, parents, the governing body, the Department of Education, the community and other partners external to the school. This research project proposes a possible strategy for managers of education which focuses on the potentiality that good discipline has for the enhancement of learning environments.