Exploring the role of the principals in promoting professional development activities in schools : a case study of three secondary schools in Pinetown District.
Democratic changes in South Africa necessitated a new curriculum which was going to redress the past inequalities through improving the quality of education; although research points to the direction that the cascade model of professional development is ineffective, the department of education, apparently for the sake of expediency, relies on the workshops to convey information on curricular changes. Research also suggests that there is a need for principals to work together with all stakeholders to come up with professional development activities in a school context which are going to address problems identified by teachers; this will put teachers in a position to develop one another and contribute meaningfully to curriculum development. The department of education in collaboration with Higher Education Institutions designed Advance Certificate in Education (ACE: SL) to, as one of its purposes, capacitate principals to run their schools as learning organisations. The hallmark of a school which is a learning organisation is professional development, the aim of the study was to explore if principals who completed ACE: SL between 2007 and 2009 promoted professional development activities in schools that they head. Three schools which were headed by principals who completed ACE: SL from 2007 to 2009 were purposively sampled due their close proximity, the principals were the main participants, HoDs and teachers were interviewed for the purpose of triangulation and to get a balanced view. Semi-structured interviews and document review were used as methods of data collection. The information which was collected during the interviews was audio recorded and transcribed verbatim; participants were requested to supply documents i.e. minutes of the meetings for the years 2012 and 2013. The method of data analysis that was employed was content analysis. Data was classified into the nine main themes. The findings were that schools could not produce policies on PD, there were no formal induction and mentorship programmes, there were very few workshops which were organised in a school context and their focus was also limited to computer literacy, filing and classroom management; teachers wanted to do PD during normal teaching time, there was little collaborative teaching and learning.