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Enhancing primary schools’ accountability for schools’ performance: perspective of Umgungundlovu District officials.

dc.contributor.advisorMyende, Pinkie Euginia.
dc.contributor.authorMbele, Ntombiningi Nokukhanya.
dc.descriptionMasters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe attainment of quality education for all, as envisaged by the Department of Basic Education (DBE), is embedded in the willingness by all stakeholders to play their part in ensuring that effective teaching and learning in schools is not compromised. Given the enormous financial investment that the government is committing in education, the expectation is that such an investment should yield positive returns to the state and the nation at large. Strengthening accountability from those entrusted with such responsibility is one of the strategies to employ in order to attain the state’s money’s worth. The study was thus purposed at gaining an insight from six district officials (three circuit managers and three subject advisors) about how their education district in the province of KwaZulu-Natal enhances accountability for primary schools’ performance. To achieve its purpose, this study was guided by three research questions, which are: i) What are district officials’ understanding of accountability in relation to the schooling sector? ii) How do district officials ensure accountability for performance in primary schools? iii) Why do district officials ensure accountability for performance in primary schools the way they do? This study adopted an interpretative qualitative approach, using a case study methodology. The selection of the six district officials who participated in the study was premised on their job description, which entails, inter alia, exercising oversight and accountability in schools. Semistructured interviews and document analysis were used to generate data. Face-to-face individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with all the participants. Data was analysed thematically; quality and rigour were ensured using the concept of trustworthiness and all ethics relating to social science research were ensured. The study found that the phenomenon of accountability is well-understood by the district officials. This was evident in the accountability measures that are instituted by the district, in order to enhance accountability for primary schools’ performance. These measures included orientation workshops, school visits, moderation of assessment tasks and quarterly analysis of learners’ results. Beyond these measures, the study also revealed that district officials’ quest to strengthen accountability is affected by a multitude of challenges that emanate either from the system as a whole, district or school level. These include, inter alia, insufficient personnel at a district level, prioritisation of secondary schools over primary schools, the vastness of the district and the lack of standardised assessment in the General Education and Training (GET) phase. Such challenges result in the inadequate and inconsistent district support to schools. The study concludes that accountability is a reciprocal process between schools and the district office, and strengthening it at both levels is key to the overall improvement of primary schools’ performance. The study further recommends that primary schools play a crucial role of laying a foundation for literacy and numeracy skills and knowledge that learners need throughout their education journey. The DBE should therefore balance the investment between GET and Further Education and Training (FET) with regards to material resources, infrastructure and human resources.en_US
dc.subject.otherSchool leadership and performance.en_US
dc.titleEnhancing primary schools’ accountability for schools’ performance: perspective of Umgungundlovu District officials.en_US


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