Improving school governance through participative democracy and the law

South African Journal of Education. 2011;31(1):55-73

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: South African Journal of Education

ISSN: 0256-0100 (Print); 2076-3433 (Online)

Publisher: Education Association of South Africa

Society/Institution: Education Association of South Africa

LCC Subject Category: Education: Education (General) | Education: Special aspects of education

Country of publisher: South Africa

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF

 

AUTHORS


Marius H Smit

Izak J Oosthuizen

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 16 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

There is an inextricable link between democracy, education and the law. After 15 yearsofconstitutional democracy, the alarming percentage of dysfunctional schools raises questions about the efficacy of the system of local school governance. We report on the findings of quantitative and qualitative research on the democratisation of schools and the education system in North-West Province. Several undemocratic features are attributable to systemic weaknesses of traditional models of democracy as well as the misapplication of democratic and legal principles. The findings of the qualitative study confirmed that parents often misconceive participatory democracy for political democracy and misunderstand the role of the school governing body to be a political forum. Despite the shortcomings, the majority of the respondents agreed that parental participation improves school effectiveness and that the decentralised model of local school governance should continue. Recommendations to effect the inculcation of substantive democratic knowledge, values and attitudes into school governance are based on theory of deliberative democracy and principles of responsiveness, accountability and justification of decisions through rational discourse.