Managing Schools in South Africa

2310-1997 (online)
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This series aims to assist in changing the education system to meet South Africa’s present and future needs after the dismantling of apartheid. It provides guidelines for teachers and managers seeking to improve their skills, both for the benefit of learners and colleagues and as a contribution to the new South Africa. Written by educators, the titles in the series draw on research in a range of South African schools and integrates the best of theory, research and practice.

Managing Finance and External Relations in South African Schools

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Commonwealth Secretariat
01 July 2005
9781848598362 (PDF)

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The central purpose of this book is to consider the concepts and principles of the important areas of educational leadership signalled by Nelson Mandela. The aim is to develop improved understanding and practice of the management of external relations and resources in schools. The text is on theory and research and uses South African case examples and activities to encourage reflection and personal development. It is aimed particularly, but not exclusively, at those who lead and manage in schools or support them in a professional role. The authors are experts in the field of educational leadership and management.

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    • Resources for Schooling

      South Africa is committed to fundamental transformation of its social institutions and the values that underpin and shape them. This commitment finds its clearest expression in the Constitution (Republic of South Africa, 1996a), as well as in a variety of policies and emerging legislation such as the South African Schools Act (Republic of South Africa, 1996b).

    • Management Styles and Their Impact in Financial and Resource Management

      Internal resource allocation is not simply a routine administrative process; it is a means of expressing and making operational the values of the institution, or perhaps of dominant groups and individuals within it. Spending decisions reflect the priorities of the decision makers and often represent the outcome of a complex process of deliberation and review. The resource allocation process is a significant aspect of strategic management.

    • Generating School Funds

      As was made clear in Chapter 1, funding from the state to schools in South Africa is inevitably insufficient to enable the provision of resources necessary for a high quality education. Clearly, arguments have been put forward in respect of the morality and justice of such a situation, based on the assumption that it is the state’s duty to provide sufficient funding and resources. Other commentators highlight the importance of marketing schools and the role of this in raising educational standards. Their points of view range from those who “act as some of the boldest proponents of marketing” to those who “are more subtle apologists” (Thrupp and Willmott, 2003, p 71). Thrupp and Willmott (op cit) contend that the literature on educational management is weak because many writers accept the managerialist practices of the 1990s without comment or criticism of the social inequalities that result from them.

    • Budgeting

      Several factors, including government policies and economic trends, have been responsible for recent changes in the financing of education in South Africa. As a result of new legislation, considerably more authority and responsibility for decision-making is now devolved to the school level. Devolving responsibility for budgets to schools is a popular reform strategy as the public demands that schools become more productive and are held accountable for their actions. Other factors to be considered in funding schools are the principle of equal opportunities and equal educational standards. In South Africa the exceptional growth in the number of learners and the present financial climate of increased control over public spending are also important. The outcome is that schools are expected to generate more and more money to be administered and managed as school funds (Bisschoff and Mestry, 2003, p 1). Effective financial management has, therefore, assumed a place of cardinal importance.

    • Using Resources for School Improvement

      The main purpose of school improvement is to create conditions conducive to children’s learning and success at school (Dimmock, 1995, p 17). To improve, schools need to procure, allocate and manage resources effectively. However, many schools in South Africa have had to work under the most difficult circumstances. Although the present democratic government is committed to rectifying the imbalances of the past in education, the apartheid legacy has left many challenges in the schooling system, including inadequate resources (Republic of South Africa, 1995).

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Managing External Relations

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    • The Context for Managing External Relations in South Africa

      The pace of change, and the need to be more adaptable and responsive to local circumstances, requires that managers develop new skills and styles of working. They must be capable of providing leadership…and be able to interact with communities and stakeholders both inside and outside the system. (Department of Education, 1996, p 14) We strongly advocate initiatives to establish partnerships between schools, education departments and other locally-based sources of support and expertise. In our work, we have assembled a weight of evidence which demonstrates that such partnerships can be valuable and effective. (Ibid, p 32)

    • Working with the Community

      Around the globe governments are waking up to the fact that improvements in education cannot be secured by the action of educational policy makers and professionals alone. Schools are “inextricably linked to their communities” (Carrim and Shalem, 1999, p 16), and solutions lie not in unsustainable top-down reform but in securing commitment and partnership with the range of stakeholders that make up a community. The World Conference on Education for All issued a declaration that: New and revitalised partnerships at all levels will be necessary…. Genuine partnerships contribute to the planning, implementation, managing and evaluating of basic education programmes. When we speak of ‘an expanded vision and renewed commitment’, partnerships are at the heart of it. (Bray, 2000, p 6)

    • Marketing Schools

      In line with recent trends around the world (Sayed, 1997, p 354), many postapartheid initiatives to reform education in South Africa are based on the assumption that the participation of educators, learners and parents can enhance schools’ effectiveness (Mosoge and Van der Westhuizen, 1998, p 73). As noted in previous chapters, this includes the decentralisation of some responsibility and authority from central government administration to various ‘lower’ levels, including individual schools and their governing bodies. Moreover, open enrolment now means that parents have the right to choose a school for their child, irrespective of catchment boundaries and the former nature of the school, and local management of schools formula funding links school income to learner numbers.

    • Accountability in Education

      Accountability is one of the most important concepts in education, and its influence has been increasing during the 1990s and into the twenty-first century. The main focus of this enhanced emphasis is on external accountability rather than responsiveness to internal audiences.

    • The Role ad Responsibility of School Governors

      There has been a major shift to self-governance for schools in many countries during the past two decades and, despite considerable diversity in the forms adopted, this is generally underpinned by notions of democracy and school effectiveness. Power is typically devolved to school governing bodies (SGBs), while operational management is the responsibility of the principal (Bush and Gamage, 2001; Bush and Heystek, 2003).

    • Working with the Government in Education

      Working with government presents challenges for schools worldwide, as evidenced in the literature on the subject (see, for example, Bush et al, 1993; Caldwell and Spinks, 1998; Foreman, 1999). Among these challenges is the tension that sometimes exists between policy makers and practitioners of school education, for example: on what should be included in the curriculum and how it should be taught. Furthermore, school professionals may be expected to implement policies to which they are opposed, and this can cause them to resist change. Added to these are governmental expectations for rapid results compared with “the sheer length of time needed to achieve significant change” (Foreman, 1999, p 68). Such expectations ignore the complexity of the change process and the need for a “two-way relationship of pressure, support and continuous negotiation” in order to successfully implement the desired change (Fullan, 1993, in Foreman, op cit). In addition, there is yet another challenge for schools in what can appear to be the contradictions between the diversity that characterises the increasing local management of schools on the one hand and the conformity demanded by concurrent centralisation on the other (Foreman, 1999, pp 68-9).

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