South African Journal of Education
On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
BROWN, Byron and DUKU, Ntombozuko. Negotiated identities: dynamics in parents' participation in school governance in rural Eastern Cape schools and implication for school leadership. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2008, vol.28, n.3, pp. 431-450. ISSN 2076-3433.
School governance is a feature of school leadership in schools in South Africa. Currently, there is a dearth of research examining the dynamics in, and how parents navigate their way through, the process of school governance. Using a qualitative approach, we investigated these dynamics. The sample was parents in rural communities in secondary schools in the Eastern Cape. The parents responded to questions in semi-structured phenomenological interviews. Multiple factors linked to gender politics and African traditions shaped how parents participated in school governance. School governance practices were imbued with a tension between values inherent in African traditions/ customs and values of modern school policies/legislations. While outlining the implications for school leadership, we argue that conflict and tension in school governance is likely to continue unless leadership practices and policy provisions reflect more of people's customs/traditions.