The allocation of human and financial resources to various schools in South Africa depends on the number of learners enrolled in a particular year. Schools with less learner enrolment are more likely allocated few educators. The grades in such schools are often combined and the schools become multi-graded. Research reveals that multi-grade schools commonly occur in remote, rural areas. The research study is aimed at exploring the experiences of educators working in primary multi-grade schools.
Both local and global literature indicates that educators working in multi-grade schools are with a lot of different challenges. For this study, a qualitative methodology and case study research design were used. Two primary schools were selected through purposive and snowball sampling. Five educators participated in the research. The data was collected through interviews, observations, and document analysis. Data was analysed inductively using in vivo coding.
The study revealed that educators in primary multi-grade schools encountered challenges with regard to managing the curriculum, managing the time, administration of their work, attending to the needs of the learners and shortage of resources. In addition, the study showed that the educators and the communities where the schools are situated lack support from the government and the surrounding businesses.
In order for multi-grade primary schools to be effective and productive there must be more support provided to them so that the neighbouring secondary schools may have lower levels of dropouts and good matric results. Lack of support for multi-grade primary schools has a negative impact on matric results because learners miss a lot of work that form the basis of matric curriculum. The ignoring of issues such as development of the communities and service delivery also affect the schools negatively.