Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Koers]]> vol. 82 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>A critical analysis of the learners' constitutional rights to basic education in South African public schools</b>]]> Globally, several countries have been proposing to make primary education compulsory ana freely available to all. Although there has been steady growth in learner enrolment in South African public schools since 1994, the socio-economic status of parents, racial and religious discrimination, high cost of school fees and schools' language policies have prevented poor learners from accessing basic education, especially in public schools located within affluent areas. This paper critically examii ies legislation and policies relating to children s constitu tional rights to basic education. The government's mandate to redress past injustices and concentrate on social justice and equity in public education is hampered by the failure of many schools to correctly interpret or consistently apply legislation and regulations relating to learner admissions It has been found that the admission policies drawn up by school governing bodies (SGB) covertly prevent poor learners from enrolling at affluent schools. Although school admissions have been contested in various court cases governing bodies of some affluent public schools continue to practise unfairness in opening its doors to all children. To ensure that social justice and equity prevail in school education, the Department of Education should revise policies or amend existing legislation encouraging SGBs to provide learner access without any prejudice. <![CDATA[<b>Enacting social justice in education through spiritual leadership</b>]]> Promulgated by Nelson Mandela in December 1996, South Africa's post-Apartheid Constitution draws on the Bill of Rights to affirm the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. As an emerging democracy, South Africa further seeks to address issues of social justice and equality in education through the South African Schools Act of 1996. This Act sets out policies and practices intended to redress past injustices and support the rights of learners, educators and parents. Drawing on critical feminist theory, this study explored the experiences of female educational leaders in South Africa's disadvantaged rural school communities This qualitative research project adopted a case study research design. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and observations. The aims of this paper are: (i) to investigate the principles of social justice and equity as expressed through spiritual leadership; and (ii) to interpret these principles in relation to education policies. Identifying connectedness and spirituality as prerequisites for spiritual leadership, the study found that spiritual leadership is a means through which social justice leadership can be enacted. While the South African Schools Act upholds the notion that public schools promote democracy through respect for all and a tolerance of diverse religious beliefs, this paper does not conflate spirituality with religion. It instead, explores alternative interpretations which explore spiritual leadership and restorative justice as vehicles through which equity and social justice can be understood and enacted. <![CDATA[<b>Challenges for rural school leaders in a developing context: a case study on leadership practices of effective rural principals</b>]]> School leaders in all settings require suitable integration of leadership knowledge and skills to respond effectively to the many challenges that beset them in their daily work. However, it is argued that the rural context creates additional and distinctive challenges for school leaders, as rural schools have unique challenges and traits that differentiate them markedly from those in urban areas. To help understand how rural leaders in rural schools deal with the challenges and complexity in their work five schools were selected for the studv. A qualitative research paradigm was selected. The selection process involved a purposive sample. Three of the five principals on whom the case studies were based were in their first year and the other two were in their third and fourth year as a permanent teaching principal, respectively. Principals were interviewed using semi-structured, in-depth interviews. It was found that the desirability of principals acquiring a rural lens as a strategy for enhancing leadership has important implications for their initial preparation and also for their ongoing professional training. <![CDATA[<b>Ensuring educational leadership in the creation and leadership of schools</b>]]> Researchers have grappled to speculate about why people in almost all societies share a concern with social justice and equity in education. It is increasingly recognized, internationally and in South Africa, that leading and managing teaching and learning is one of the most important activities for principals and other school leaders. This paper shows that managing teaching and learning are often inadequate, and largely fails to improve educational problems facing school communities. A lot was written about arguably the biggest challenge facing today's teachers and principals The question remains how schools could be made to work effectively and equitably for all learners in ever more diverse classrooms. This article will attempt point the way to ensure that there is educational leadership in the creation and management of schools. Quality leadership skills and competencies for effective teaching and learning in schools are also highlighted. The rationale for this study is based on the growing concern that school leadership is not sensitive to the needs of the learners they serve and continue to experience unjustifiable expenditure in relation to community expectations in terms of teaching and learning. Equity theory underpinned this study It is imperative to note that people feel most comfortable when their relationships are maximally profitable and they are giving and getting exactly what they deserve from their relationships; no more and certainly no less. The ethics of care theory is used as a lens to understand how principals lead and manage schools to improve learner performance. This theory is considered pertinent for this study due to the fact that leaders have authority and power over their subordinates. A leader should possess instructional leadership skills that emphasize the achievement of the core task, teaching and learning, in schools. Effective leaders understand their staff and learners' unique needs, can create a supportive environment and engage in practices that build on employee self-confidence to enhance their performance. Ethics of care is deemed suitable for this study since school leaders shouldhave a passion to care for teachers and learners theyl ead.Ethics of careis a suitable way to connect people and emphasize helping others. Leaders should go an extra mile to address, nurture and support the needs of the teachers. The role of caring in a school environment has a more specific aim, which is to establish an environment that is conducive to effective teaching and learning because an environment that is caring enhances productivity. An investigation was conducted to explore effective school leadership through teaching and learning. This effect presents an exhaustive review of the article and suggests a direction for future developments. Based on the study, a qualitative approach was employed to investigate effective school leadership practices as perceived by school leaders. The belief is that schools should be led by quality of leaders in order to produce good results. It is on this backdrop that schools need effective, dedicated, responsible, accountable school leaders, and staff members, if they are to provide quality education for all learners. It became evident from the findings that effective principals locate learning at the centre of their daily activities and that this can only be achieved if the creation of a conducive environment plays a major role in developing a professional community of teachers who work as a team under an effective instructional leadership. Recommendations evolved from the findings. <![CDATA[<b>Decolonizing the school curriculum for equity and social justice in South Africa</b>]]> The starting point of decolonizing the curriculum is in the schools and classrooms that I regard as the formal education laboratories for equity and social justice in a just society. Unfortunately, many South African public schools' curricula are not yet decolonized and thus continue to perpetuate the preparation of learners for leading western lives in a continent that is not western by nature. The South African school curriculum does little to address decolonization for equity and social justice in the South African public schools This article argues for the decolonization of public school curricula for equity and social justice in South Africa. Background information is provided. Key terms will be decoded, followed by an outline of the frame of reference, method of research and a discussion of the process of decolonising the curriculum. The importance of decolonizing the school curriculum for equity and social justice in South Africa will be discussed. Threats emanating from not decolonizing the curriculum for equity and social justice in South Africa will also be discussed. Conclusions will be drawn. <![CDATA[<b>Rethinking the technology platform through equitable quality curriculum for empowering the marginalised women in education</b>]]> This study was carried out to explore the impact of understanding the technology platform through equitable education. The technology space; through quality education; is a tool which empowers the marginalised women, with employable skills for better representation in higher education curriculum. A mixed method approach was employed in the study A sample of three universities was drawn from a population of eight registered State universities in Cameroon. The following research instruments were used as a means to collect data; interviews, questionnaire and document analysis. The data collected was presented and analysed using, percentages, frequencies, the Pearson Moment Correlation and the Chi- Square (X ) statistical test of independence. It became evident from the findings that the operations of women who did not understand the technology platform left much to be desired because they lacked employable skills. Moreov r, they did not significantly impact on the growth of Cameroonian economy due to the numerous operational challenges faced by them over the years. Furthermore, it was also observed that a weak positive relationship existed between public policy support and women entrepreneurs in the country. This implies that, government in itiative s and other support services have not assisted them surmount the inhibiting operational challenges. In order to help the unskilled wo men overcome their operational hardships, it is strongly recommended that among others, the following issues should be in place; relationship between understanding the technological space and female employability skills, capacity building initiatives on equitable quality education for all, provision of effective and realistic support services for marginalised women, promoting of gender neutral environment in all policy measures to help empowered women impact significantly on Cameroonian economic growth and stability. <![CDATA[<b>Perceptions of teacher education students at a South African university on the relationship between culture and education: implications for social justice</b>]]> The Constitution of South Africa envisions a socially just society However, realising this requires an education context that, amongst other things, celebrates and promotes cultural diversity Widely known as the rainbow nation, South Africa is home to diverse cultures, both from within and from all over Africa and the rest of the world. This fact poses particular challenges to education, which is not only required to provide a multi- cultural educational context conducive to effective teaching and learning, but also to promote social justice. However, indications are that SA education fails dismally to achieve both ends. We argue that part of the reason for this failure is the inability of (pre-service) education students to understand, acknowledge and validate the intrinsic relationship that exists between culture and education. As such, they hamper efforts to realise social justice through education. In this paper we report on the perceptions regarding the relationship between culture and education of third- and fourth-year education students at a university in South Africa. We conducted quantitative research amongst a culturally diverse group of students; 266 in total. Findings suggest that students have a limited understanding of this relationship, in spite of the efforts both this university, as well as the education authorities' attempts. The paper concludes with recommendations for enhancing sensitivity amongst education students about the relationship between culture and education, and the possible implications for social justice as a result of ignorance of this issue<hr/>Die Suid-Afrikaanse Grondwet is gerig op n sosiaal regverdige samelewing. Om hierdie ideaal te verwesenlik vereis ´n onderwyskonteks wat onder andere kulturele diversiteit vier en dit bevorder. Suid-Afrika, alombekend as die reënboognasie, is die tuiste van diverse plaaslike kulture, maar ook ander kulture uit Afrika en van die res van die wêreld. Hierdie stand van sake hou bepaalde uitdagings in vir die onderwys wat nie net ´n multikulturele onderwyskonteks moet daarstel nie, maar ook sosiale geregtigheid moet bevorder. Daar is egter aanduidings dat die Suid-Afrikaanse onderwys jammerlik misluk om hierdie uitkomste te verwesenlik. Ons argumenteer dat hierdie probleem deels geleë is in die onvermoë van onderwysstudente om die intrinsieke verhouding wat daar tussen kultuur en onderwys bestaan te verstaan, dit te erken en dit te bekragtig. Gevolglik word pogings om sosiale geregtigheid deur onderwys te verwesenlik, belemmer. In hierdie artikel doen ons verslag oor die persepsies van derdeen vierdejaaronderwysstudente aan n Suid-Afrikaanse universiteit. Ons het n kwantitatiewe ondersoek onder n kultureel-diverse groep studente gedoen: 266 in totaal. Bevindings dui daarop dat studente 'n beperkte begrip van die verhouding tussen kultuur en onderwys het, ten spyte van pogings van beide hierdie universiteit sowel as die onderwysowerheid. Die artikel sluit af met aanbevelings oor hoe om 'n sensitiviteit oor die verhouding tussen kultuur en onderwys onder onderwysstudente te bevorder, en die moontlike implikasies vir sosiale geregtigheid as gevolg van n gebrek aan kennis hieroor. <![CDATA[<b>Thoughts on strategies and a paradigm shift to achieve equality in education</b>]]> Although the terms "equity" and "socialjustice" are often used together in phrases such as "equity and social justice", and although these concepts are clearly related, I will confine my discussion to the concept of "equity" There are clear signs of a widespread belief that equity can indeed be achieved in education in South Africa if policy can be implemented better and become practice, and if everyone can intensify their efforts in this regard. This belief suggests that equity remains elusive in education in South Africa, despite the fact that innumerable policies have been developed that were assumed to be suitable for addressing some of the more urgent challenges, and enabling education to progress towards the goal of equity. Seemingly uncontested notions exist, among others the notion that equity can be operationally defined, and the idea that laws and policies can be used as levers to turn around a worrisome situation, such as an apparent lack of equity in education. Policymakers, in particular, seem to believe that goals, whose attainment can be measured quantitatively, can be set in regard to equity in education Some of the assumptions in regard to education and equity are questionable, and possibly even mistaken, and I will examine them in this article. I will argue that merely re-examining the causal relationship between policy and practice in regard to equity in education is not likely to bring equity within reach in education, or through education. Meanii gful strides towards equity cannot be made before clarity has been achieved on the meaning and implications of equity I will argue that a paradigm shift regarding equity needs to precede a rethinking of policy and practice. I propose to develop my argument, which I expect to be eminently contestable, by 1. Seeking to trace the origin and meaning of the concept of "equity", 2. Examining the apparent general confusion over terminology such as "equality", "equity", "redress", "quality", "affirmative action", "(re)distributivejustice", and "social justice" in the educational policy, law and practice literature, 3. Asking questions that could provoke answers that could illuminate the concept; these questions would relate to, among other things, points of departure when thinking about equity, for example • "Is it an aim, a point of departure, or an outcome?" • "Is it measurable, and is there a way in which to measure its achievement?", and • "Can people, through education, be brought to a place where they will recognise whether they are enjoying equity, or not?", and 4. Proposing that the ultimate meaning of equity is to remove what impairs people's inherent human dignity and is therefore untenable, repugnant, and unconscionable in any social sphere (such as education). Although equity is hard to measure (if it can be measured at all), I will argue that it can be sensed when people believe that a previously abhorrent, unconscionable or untenable situation that affected the essence of their human dignity and existence or being negatively has been removed and that it is now possible for them to live their lives in dignity. A change in thinking, or a paradigm shift, needs to take place, where we come to the realisation that we cannot keep on pursuing numerical targets, which, in the final analysis, do not do much to prove that we have moved towards equity. In addition to following obviously needed educational strategies to eliminate inequities, we need to develop a coherent understanding of what would constitute equity in people's minds, and to consider ways and means to make people aware of such a place, and move them towards it. Equity plays itself out in, and must essentially be achieved in, the sphere of interaction and contact between people, and, as such, it is closely bound up with, among other things, people's human dignity and social justice. If equity is to be employed to achieve equality, it should be remembered that absolute equality seems impossible, and is, in any case, statistically improbable, given the highly complex multiple sub-contexts from which people come. One should also remember that people do not have a right to equality per se, but rather that they are equal before the law, and that they have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law (Section 9(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996). I cannot provide definitive answers to questions such as "What is equity?", "How does one achieve equity?", and "How does one know that equity has been achieved?" I will, however, suggest ways that we can think differently about equity, in which we can get closer to a proper understanding of the concept.<hr/>Alhoewel die terme "billikheid" en "sosiale geregtigheid" dikwels saam gebruik word in frases soos "billikheid en sosiale geregtigheid", en al is díé begrippe duidelik verwant, sal ek my bespreking beperk tot die begrip "billikheid". Ek sal my bespreking ook beperk tot billikheid in die konteks van onderwys in skole. Daar is duidelike tekens van h wydverspreide oortuiging dat billikheid bereik kan word as beleid net beter geïmplementeer en praktyk gemaak kan word en as almal net hulle pogings in dié verband kan verskerp. Hierdie oortuiging dui daarop dat billikheid h ontwykende doelwit bly in Suid-Afrika, ten spyte van die feit dat h menigte beleide ontwikkel is wat as gepas beskou is om van die meer dringende uitdagings aan te spreek, en om impetus aan die onderwys te verleen op die pad na billikheid. Dit wil voorkom of daar opvattings is wat sonder meer aanvaar word, soos die aanname dat mens h operasionele definisie van billikheid kan formuleer, en dat wette en beleide gebruik kan word as hefbome om h kommerwekkende situasie, soos n skynbare gebrek aan billikheid, om te keer Dit is, in die besonder, beleidmakers wat oënskynlik glo dat doelstellings, waarvan die bereiking in kwantifiseerbare terme geformuleer kan word, in die onderwys gestel kan word Van die aannames oor billikheid en die onderwys is aanvegbaar, en moontlik selfs verkeerd, en ek sal dit in hierdie artikel ondersoek. Ek sal aanvoer dat deur bloot die kousale verband tussen beleid en praktyk ten opsigte van billikheid te herbesoek waarskynlik nie die bereiking van billikheid in en deur die onderwys in die hand sal werk nie. Betekenisvolle vordering kan nie gemaak word voordat helderheid bereik is oor die betekenis en implikasies van die begrip "billikheid" nie. Ek sal aanvoer dat h paradigmaskuif oor billikheid h herbesinning oor beleid en praktyk in hierdie verband moet voorafgaan. Ek wil my argument, wat waarskynlik hoogs debatteerbaar sal wees, ontwikkel deur, onder andere, 1. Te poog om die oorsprong en betekenis van die konsep "billikheid" na te speur, 2. Die oënskynlik algemene verwarring oor begrippe soos "gelykheid", "billikheid", "herstel", "kwaliteit", "regstellende aksie", "(her)verspreide geregtigheid", en "sosiale geregtigheid" in die onderwysbeleid, -reg en -praktykliteratuur te ondersoek, 3. Vrae te stel wat kan lei tot anttwoorde wat die konsep sal verhelder. Die vrae sal verband hou met, onder andere, vertrekpunte om oor billikheid te dink, soos a. "Is dit n doelstelling, n vertrekpunt, of 'n uitkoms?" b. "Is dit meetbaar, en is daar n wyse waarop die bereiking van billikheid gemeet kan word?", en c. "Kan mense deur die onderwys gelei word na n plek waar hulle sal besef of hulle billikheid geniet, of nie?", en 4. Aan die hand te doen dat die essensiële betekenis van billikheid is om dit wat mense se inherente waardigheid aantas en wat dus onhoudbaar, verwerplik, en ondenkbaar in enige maatskaplike sfeer (soos die onderwys) is te verwyder. Alhoewel billikheid moeilik meetbaar is (indien dit hoegenaamd meetbaar is), sal ek aanvoer dat n mens daarvan bewus kan word wanneer hy oortuig is dat n voorheen-ver-werplike, -ondenkbare of -onhoudbare situasie, wat die kern van sy menswees en bestaan negatief geraak het, uit die weg geruim is en dat dit nou vir hom moontlik is om menswaardig te lewe. Daar moet n paradigmaskuif kom waar ons besef dat ons nie bloot daarmee kan aanhou om numeriese teikens, wat op stuk van sake nie werklik bewys dat ons nader aan billikheid beweeg het nie, na te strewe nie. Ons moet onderwyskundige strategieë om ongelykhede uit die weg te ruim volg, maar tesame daarmee moet ons ook n samehangende begrip van wat mense as billikheid verstaan ontwikkel, en ons moet dink aan wyses waarop mense van so n moont-likheid bewus gemaak kan word, en nader aan so n plek beweeg kan word. Billikheid speel homself af in, en moet essensieel bereik word in, die sfeer van interaksie en kontak tussen mense. As sodanig is dit nou verbonde aan, onder meer, mense se menswaardigheid en sosiale geregtigheid. As ons billikheid wil gebruik om gelykheid te bereik, moet onthou word dat absolute gelykheid, gegewe die hoogs-ingewikkelde veelvoudige sub-kontekste waaruit mense kom, prakties onmoontlik voorkom, en, in elk geval, statisties onwaarskynlik is. Verder moet onthou word dat mense nie die reg het op gelykheid per se nie, maar dat elkeen gelyk is voor die reg en die reg het op gelyke beskerming en voordeel van die reg (Artikel 9(1) van die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika van 1996). Ek kan nie afdoende antwoorde verskaf op vrae soos "Wat is billikheid?", "Hoe bereik mens billikheid?" en "Hoe weet mens dat billikheid bereik is?" nie. Wat ek wel kan doen is om te suggereer dat ons anders kan dink oor billikheid, en dat ons sodoende nader daaraan kan kom om die term behoorlik te begryp. <![CDATA[<b>The right to basic education for all in South Africa: Implications for school principals</b>]]> It is now globally accepted that all children have the right to basic education as a fundamental human right. This right must not only be guaranteed, but also fulfilled holistically to meet all children's educational needs. This occurs when its three dimensions, namely access, quality and safe conditions are equally addressed. In other words, the right to basic education is fulfilled when all children have access to quality education in a safe school environment. For this reason, the state has a duty to promote and protect this right entirely. In South Africa, the state has put in place a legislative and policy framework to meet its obligation in this regard However, despite the state's efforts in creating child-friendly school conditions, children in schools still experience challenges that negatively impinge upon their educational rights. Such challenges include school dropout, grade repetition together with poor academic performance and achievement. The problem is rooted in the disconnection between access to education, school safety and quality education, putting the spotlight on the school principal's leadership. This paper concludes that refocusing on the application of the school leadership theory has the potential to reduce the problem.