Re-imagining the structure and format of the recruitement, selection, and appointment of school principals: a case study of stakeholders views.
Chetty, Selvan Angamuthu.
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After South Africa became a democratic state in 1994, the department of education was faced with a huge responsibility of transforming a divided, unequal and culturally oppressive education system into a single entity that would promote principles of democracy, redress, social empowerment and equity. Fundamental to this new dispensation and the success of our schools was the appointment of school principals; this for the effective leadership and management of schools. The South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 provided a framework within which school governing bodies were required to make recommendations on the appointment of principals to the Department of Education after undergoing a selection process. The purpose of the study intended to capture the voices of educators, parents and principals serving on interview committees on the recruitment, selection and appointment of school principals. This required the collective participation of circuit managers as resource persons representing the Department of Education. This diverse group was tasked with the enormous responsibility of adjudicating on who the next head of the institution should be. Clearly the inclusion of stakeholders needed to be applauded but certainly the working and the execution of such a responsibility was bound to present challenges. Following a qualitative case study design embedded within an interpretivist paradigm the findings of this study were derived through focus group interviews. As a grounding to the research, the participants were presented with four labour relations grievance cases that emerged as a result of applicants that may have been aggrieved with the current process. The Particularist approach together with the Universalist approach constituted the theoretical framework which assisted in analysing data in terms of the format, recruitment and selection of school principals. The findings revealed that there are serious shortcomings in the current process on how school principals are recruited, selected and appointed at schools. There is a serious concern around the education department continuing to play a submissive role in this process, a substantial lack of competence on the part of parents and educators to undertake this task and a continued existence of undue influence by the unions.