South Africa has witnessed radical policy reforms since the advent of the new democratic dispensation in 1994. As provincial, district and local practitioners developed responses to those new national education policies, implementation issues were revealed in all their complexity. Policy implementation became one of the most difficult challenges South Africa had to contend with. It necessitated the development of the capacity of the state and its people to implement policy. The complexities of the people development environment in South Africa create a range of challenges for development. The lack of multi-level empirical data on training effects continues to exacerbate this state of affairs. This context requires that comprehensive assessment mechanisms be put in place for training programmes aimed at the realisation of policy goals. The broad purpose of this inquiry, therefore, is to determine the impact of an education management development training intervention as it passes through different levels of the education system in South Africa - national, provincial, district and local. The following key questions guided this investigation. Firstly, how do stakeholder understandings of “education management development” transfer from one level to another in a cascade model of training? And secondly, what is the operational impact of an education management development-training programme at the different levels (i.e., province, district and school) of the education system? Questionnaires, free attitude interviews and observations were used as key data collection instruments. Data was analysed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative strategies for making sense of the training information. Data was interpreted against the backdrop of the literature on the “transfer of training”, and these findings are represented in the last three chapters of this thesis. This research generated four major findings, with a variety of subsidiary findings, which deepen our insights into policy implementation as it relates to education management development in South Africa. Some of the major findings of this study are that: a) The organisers did not in the first place conduct the baseline study on training needs and secondly, they did not take into consideration the organisational requirements of the anticipated training. This anomaly could ultimately compromise the outcomes of this intervention. b) The policy deployment processes of the North West Department of Education (of ensuring that the governmental policies for quality, cost and service delivery are understood from the highest to the lowest level of the organisation) are fraught with problems that undermined basic understandings of the Education Management Development training programme which was conducted between 1998 – 2000. c) Successful policy implementation depends crucially on resource allocation and, in the case of the Education Management Development Training Programme, the nature and magnitude of allocated resources e.g., transport provision could not guarantee positive training results; and d) The overly rationalistic view adopted by the trainers of the Education Management development-training programme did not take into account the complex contexts within which change unfolds. Resultantly, the changing of the roles of facilitators could not be planned-for in advance. The significance of this study is that it identifies the barriers to learning in training events, and sheds new light on the transfer of training problem that continues to undermine organisational change and human resource development. Some of the unique findings of the study can be found in the fact that the Expert Trainers could only recall a few intentions of the EMD modular training. The District Facilitators displayed limited knowledge of the disciplinary procedures in their areas of operation and there was limited conceptualisation of the EMD by the principals of schools.
Thesis (PhD (Education Policy Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2005.
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