The primary objective of the study was to investigate critical perspectives impacting
on the role of leadership in secondary education. The research utilized qualitative
methodology wherein literature included observation, interviews of members of the
school governance, principals, education officials and members of the school
management teams. The study formulated a research question which reflects the
researcher’s expectation about the phenomenon. To what extent do leadership
imperatives impinge on the functioning of secondary education in South Africa?
The principals as public managers utilize the generic administrative functions to
execute their duties in secondary schools. The administrative functions are policy
making, staffing, and determination of work procedures, financing, organizing and
other management functions. Staffing and financing in the Department of Basic
Education are the competence of the principal.
The respondents interviewed and literature study confirmed that the implementation
of the generic administrative functions, namely staffing and policy making created
problems. Challenges were experienced particularly when decisions had to be taken.
Often the School Governing Body could not collectively agree on the recruitment of
suitable teachers and also on making financial decisions. This impacted negatively on
the role of principals. This trend was found to be prevalent in the schools with SGB’s
who lacked governance skills. The study has made recommendations that will help
the Department of Basic Education to address school governance. The research
recommended that the school governing body members should be trained on staffing,
finance and policy making. The principals as members of the school governing body
should also be trained on the above mentioned aspects.
The empowerment of staffing is very important as the schools require teachers who
are well qualified to teach learners according to National Curriculum Assessment
Policy Statement (NCAPS) requirements. It is important that the parents on the SGB
work cooperatively with the principals so that the school can be staffed by well
qualified personnel. It is also vital that money received from the state is used effectively, efficiently and economically. To achieve this goal an intensive training on
procurement is necessary. Policy making is an essential aspect and requires
knowledgeable people to do it. The schools require policies which will provide the
staff with guidelines.