This is a case study of the restructuring of the Jewish community schools in Johannesburg, South Africa. The purpose of this research is to explain why, how and with what impact, economic and ideological forces shaped the restructuring of the Jewish community schools. This is explored by drawing out the views of the different stakeholders as well as the meanings that they attached to the change and by recalling their experiences and understandings vis-à-vis the restructuring process. This study investigates what was considered to be the “first stage” of restructuring – a stage that aimed at ejecting the past, establishing new management and designing a blueprint for the future. The study follows the process as it evolved from April 2001 when a CEO was contracted to manage the schools until March 2003 with the 27th National Conference of the South African Board of Jewish Education, at which the changes were endorsed and constitutionalised. The study suggests that the restructuring evolved through the interaction and convergence of two globalised forces: one force pulled the schools towards marketisation and managerialism; and the other force pushed the schools towards the intensification of their religious identity. The study explores the impact of these two sets of dynamics as they came together in the context of a faith-based community school, and the contradictory forces that were set in motion. The main argument is that the synergy created between new managerialism and religious extremism, in a transitional and unstable context, undermined the fragile democracy of the faith-based community schools and caused them to change, thus shifting them towards ghettoisation, exclusion and autocracy. The study identifies and explains the global, national, local and institutional conditions and realities that enabled and constrained this process. This qualitative case study relies on insider accounts of the process of change and contestation, and raises important methodological and ethical questions around the difficulties of researching one’s own community and colleagues.
Thesis (PhD (Education Management and Policy Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2005.