An analysis of governance in further education and training colleges in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The governance of Further Education and Training (FET) colleges in South Africa has been cited as an obstacle to the sector contributing to the developmental needs of the country. There has, however, been little academic research in this area. This thesis analyses the governance of FET colleges in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) by means of constructing a conceptual framework which examines governance from an organisational perspective and applies this framework to two FET colleges in the province. This is achieved through a largely qualitative methodology. The key question posed in this thesis is: Is the governance of FET colleges significantly affected by the environment? Through this investigation, this study is able to determine: (i) the external environmental characteristics that affect the governance of FET colleges; (ii) the effects of the external environment on FET colleges; (iii) how FET colleges respond to these external environmental demands; and (iv) why the FET colleges respond in the manner that they do. In answering the key question, the economic, political, policy and geographic environments in which FET colleges in the province operate are explored. It is concluded that the state of governance in these colleges is the result of external environmental influences and resource dependency. This investigation has highlighted that the external environment has placed demands on the system of further education, which has resulted in adaptive and avoidant governance practices in FET colleges that have been adopted out of necessity. While the study has not reported on all colleges in South Africa, it does identify factors that impact on the manner in which FET colleges are governed. The concern is raised that any national government interventions need to be cognisant of the policy implementation challenges that the external environment will impose on FET colleges. Failure to do so will lead to ongoing and increasing governance practices of avoidance and adaptation.