This research project examines the experiences of school principals when implementing the staff-reduction process of the rationalisation policy stipulated by the National Department of Education in 1994. The implementation of this policy has its origins in the Transformation policy of the National government after the first democratic election in South Africa in 1994. The aim of the rationalisation policy is to bring about equity and affirmative action in the staff provision in schools. Achieving this is a collective agreement between the National Education Department and the teachers’ unions where the decision was made that the teacher:learner ratio would be 1:35 in secondary schools and 1:40 in primary schools. The aim of this research is to determine what principals experience during the staff-reduction process(es) and what impact it would have on the principal as the manager of the institution. The researcher also intends to examine the influence that staff reduction has on the working conditions of the principal as well as how this process affects the teaching and learning culture in a school. Ultimately the researcher intends to make recommendations to assist principals that are affected by staff reduction. The research concentrates on a selected group of principals, regardless of race, gender or religion (including principals from secondary, middle and primary schools) who are currently busy with their Masters Degree in Education Leadership and Management at the University of Pretoria. A qualitative research methodology is used to exemplify the perceptions and experiences of principals. The dissertation is divided into five chapters. Chapter One provides an overview and orientation of the study. The focus is the problem statement and the exposition of the aims of the research. Chapter Two concentrates on the literature study that is supported by the collection of empirical data with specific reference to the rationalisation process and the resulting staff reduction process in some schools. Chapter Three discusses the research design and data collection instruments. The focus is on the individual interviews (face to face) done with principals of schools where they air their views regarding the rationalisation process, staff reduction and the impact that the abovementioned has on the teaching and learning process in schools. Transcriptions are made of the audio recordings of the interviews and field notes have also been included as background information for the interviews. In Chapter Four the analysis of the collective interviewed data is done and the empirical data is discussed. Chapter Five is a summary of the research. In this chapter the important findings are discussed and suitable recommendations are made.
Dissertation (MEd (Educational Leadership))--University of Pretoria, 2008.