A whole–school approach to facilities maintenance
Nhlapo, Velaphi Aaron
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The area of school facilities maintenance as an integral component of schools' educational programmes is only beginning to receive attention in South Africa, through the publishing of Notice 1438 of 2008 of the National Education Policy, which is a call for comments on the National Policy for an Equitable Provision of an Enabling School Physical Teaching and Learning Environment. This implies that, while it is a critical aspect of teaching and learning, school facilities maintenance has not been accorded a priority status. Numerous studies have indicated a strong correlation between the quality of school facilities and learner achievement and educator morale and job satisfaction. This study aimed at determining how a whole-school approach to facilities maintenance can be developed at schools by investigating the nature of school facilities maintenance and what the current school facilities maintenance practices are. An exploratory qualitative empirical research involving the use of ethnographic observation, photography and interviews was conducted. The study found that the current facilities maintenance practices at schools mainly comprised routine, corrective and emergency maintenance, which implies that facilities maintenance is not an integral component of the educational programmes. It also implies that schools need to implement a comprehensive and systematic process of facilities maintenance, which has a strong strategic dimension. A Whole-School Facilities Maintenance Model is thus proposed as a solution to this need. The model addresses schools' immediate facilities maintenance needs and long-term needs as it is accommodative of changes, both minor and major, as can be the case with the enactment of policy regarding school infrastructure management. This study contributes to the practice of school organisational development and management by customising strategic planning into school development planning and improvement.
- Education