School governance and management decentralisation and school autonomy in the South African education system
This article-based study, undertaken from a complexity theory perspective, is a critical analysis of governance and management decentralisation and school autonomy in the South African education system. Because the objectives of study would not be met by conducting traditional and more conventional research designs, discourse analysis was deemed as the most suitable approach to determine how autonomous South African public schools are with regard to governance and management. The law (legislation and case law), policies and official reports were used as the primary sources of discourse. Each of the four sub-questions were addressed in a separate article focusing on aspects of school governance and management decentralisation and school autonomy at the macro and micro echelons of the South African education system. The first article critically assesses the level of decentralisation of the South African education system and argues that the South African education system has embarked on a road of decentralised—centralism. The second article is an in-depth analysis of statutory requirements for co-operative governance and relevant case law legislation. The analytical framework of this article evolves around local participation, schools as organs of state and the constitutional principle of co-operative governance. The third article examines the the parameters of the professional discretion of a South African public school principal. The last article argues that due to the accountability demands of a fundamentally bureaucratic education system, distributed leadership with its heterarchical features will most likely not be applied by South African public school principals. I addition, the article argues that there is ambiguity in the leadership / management function principals are expected to perform. The study challenges the level of decentralisation in South African education system and the motives of the South African education authorities.
- Education