Role relationships of school governing body chairpersons and principals in school governance in selected primary and secondary schools in the KwaMashu area.
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The study investigated role relationships of School Governing Body (SGB) chairpersons and principals in school governance in selected primary and secondary schools in the KwaMashu area. Through the provision of the South African Schools Act, 84 of 1996; the chairperson and the principal are leaders in the governing body and school management team respectively. Moreover the principal is an ex-officio member of the governing body. Literature and my experience as an educator suggested that, there existed conflict between the parent governors and principals in general; and SGB chairpersons and principals in particular. The purpose of the study therefore was to investigate whether or not SGB chairpersons and principals understand their roles in school governance. This was a multi-site case study of four schools in the same locality. The study was conducted through semi-structured interviews; observation and document analysis. The findings suggest that SGB chairpersons and principals appeared to have an understanding of one’s and each other’s roles. However, a deeper examination of the situation suggests that this apparent clarity was superficial. It was so in that from the principals’ perspective, it was fine if chairpersons permanently needed their assistance in performing their governance duties. It also emerged that the inexperienced governing body chairpersons and principals lacked adequate understanding of their governance roles and those of each other. There was apparent harmonious working between principals and chairpersons which was arising because of inequality between chairpersons and principals in terms of educational levels. However, there were areas of conflict between the two parties especially regarding the control of finances, and the selection and appointment of educators. The study recommends that schools should design their own training programmes where they could invite departmental officials or other consultants to train their own people. Schools should also be adequately linked to centres such as Adult Basic Education and Training to develop their own people. This will help in equipping parent governors with sufficient knowledge and skills regarding their governance responsibilities. The study also recommends that further studies be conducted around induction programmes to make them more useful.
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