A number of legal and policy frameworks with implications for public schools regarding their management and implementation of admission policies exist. Professional school management represented by the principal, school governance represented by the school governing body (SGB) and the head of the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) play a significant role in implementing, developing and managing policy, and in adapting to any changes related to policy development, management and implementation. The intricate nature of the relationship between the SGB and the Head of the GDE means that there should be an efficient, effective, and sound working relationship among all stakeholders, namely principals, SGBs, parents and learners, the community and the GDE. This relationship relates to co-operative or collaborative governance by stakeholders in different tasks, including the admission of learners, the theory of which will be an important focus in this study.
There is a dearth of research on public primary schools and learner admissions, the interpretation and appreciation of the ramifications of learner admission policies, their implementation and relationship with the constitutionally guaranteed right to basic education. The purpose of this study is to explore and observe the experiences of stakeholders (SGB, principals, the GDE representatives and parents regarding access to the right to basic education through the implementation of public primary school admission policies.
To answer the research questions, the study employed a qualitative research approach and followed an interpretivist paradigm. A phenomenological research was implemented in this study to allow the gathering of data in the form of individual face-to-face interviews to forge a common understanding of the participants’ lived experiences of enabling children’s rights to basic education through public primary school admission policies. This study set out to investigate stakeholder experiences of enabling children’s rights to basic education through public primary school admission policies. The following research question guided the study:
What are stakeholders’ experiences of enabling children’s rights to basic education through public primary school admission policies?
The following secondary research questions helped to respond to this question: According to the stakeholders, what is the function of admission policies in a public school?
a. What are stakeholder experiences of their roles regarding the development and implementation of admission policies in public schools?
b. What are the stakeholder experiences of the statutory and case law regarding admission policies of public primary schools?
c. What are the stakeholder experiences of the causes of problems experienced and their impact on the implementation of admission policies in public primary schools?
d. What solutions do the stakeholders propose to prevent and manage problems regarding the implementation of admission policies in public primary schools?