The potential use of rural schools in the Maphephetheni Lowlands as community resource centres.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the potential for public rural schools to act as community resource centres. Focus group discussions, observation and interviews were conducted with educators, School Governing Body chairpersons and Development Committee members from nine rural schools in the Maphephetheni lowlands. Perceptions of these groups were explored, regarding awareness and use of available resources for community activities; functioning of school management and governance structures; and of the concept of schools as community resource centres. Findings were applied to Myeka High School, where a solar powered computer resource centre had been established. Data were analysed using Miles & Huberman's (1994, p.21) three major phases of qualitative data analysis. The study found that these schools do not act as community resource centres, although the potential exists. Resources alone and school management and governance structures were not the influencing factors in the establishment ofcommunity resource centres at schools. Opinions of educators, SGB chairpersons and Development Committee members was a factor which inhibited the schools from acting as effective community resource centres. The study found that obstacles, such as lack of available transport for educators, educators lack of participation in community programmes and educators mistrust of the community, existed which inhibited the establishment of effective community resource centres at the schools in the Maphephetheni lowlands. Myeka High School was not used by the community, but has the potential to establish a community resource centre at the school. Recommendations explain how these obstacles could be overcome. Policy recommendations for the establishment of community resource centres at schools are made.