Teacher experiences and practices of integrated quality management system at a primary school in KwaZulu-Natal.
Jwara, Bafana Augustinus.
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This small-scale study sought to investigate “Teacher experiences and practices of Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) at a primary school in KwaZulu-Natal”. This qualitative study gathered data through the case study approach guided by the following key questions: 1. What are the teachers’ understanding of how IQMS evaluation process works? 2. What are the teachers’ perceptions of the shortcomings of the IQMS? 3. How do teachers perceive the support that they may have received or not received as a result of IQMS interventions? The study entailed interviewing the principal of a school, deputy principal, three heads of department and four level one educators; providing and administering questionnaires to ten level one educators; and doing documents analysis. The findings of the study revealed that the teachers understand the purpose of the IQMS policy but this policy is challenged when coming to its implementation. It emerged from the findings that one factor contributing to the unfairness of the system, was the tendency to give high scores on educator’s performance when the performance is not up to the standard. Level one educators argue that the system allows educators to appoint their friends to act as DSG members, and that in their minds, this presents some flaws which undermine good intentions of the policy. It was also fond that the National Department of Education made assumption that the educators have skills to evaluate themselves and that all educators are honest and trustworthy people and this in their view, contributes to ineffective implementation of the IQMS policy. The teachers feel that they needed training on self- iv evaluation prior to the implementation of this policy. The issue of the lack of physical resources in schools was also raised. These physical resources need to be used in the classroom during the teacher evaluation in class and during the professional development of educators in order to assist them to grasp the new concepts easily. It also emerged from the findings that the Teacher Unions who represented the educators during the initial stages of the introduction of the IQMS policy, did not express all the teachers’ concerns regarding the policy and as a result the educators still do not have the ownership of the policy. In the light of what has been said above, I recommended that the National Department of Education must review this policy and change some of its aspects where the teachers have concerns, for example, an expert in the subject/learning area in which the teacher is evaluated, must be appointed and serve in the DSG instead of a friend appointed by the teacher. This will eliminate the awarding of undeservedly high marks and dishonesty. The expert may be appointed within the school or from a neighbouring school or district office. I further recommended that the educators need to be trained in a workshop on how to do self-evaluation or self-reflection in preparation for their appraisal. These are the important skills that the teachers need to acquire so that they will be honest to themselves and effectively determine their real strengths and areas of development. Another recommendation is that the Department of Education must equip all the schools with support materials to facilitate learning at all levels. The professional growth of educators must be supported by the physical resources or learning materials. On the whole the IQMS policy needs to be reviewed and revised by the National Department of Education.