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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


MTHIYANE, Nonhlanhla C.C.; NAIDOO, Jaqueline  and  BERTRAM, Carol. Context matters: Heads of Department's leadership practices in monitoring and supporting teachers in schools participating in Jika iMfundo. Journal of Education [online]. 2019, n.75, pp.44-76. ISSN 2520-9868.

Jika iMfundo, with its particular focus on curriculum coverage, is an intervention for systemic education change. In this paper we focus on the extent to which Heads of Departments (HoDs) are able to play an adaptive leadership role in supporting the teachers in their departments. We report on data generated from interviews with HODs in fifteen KwaZulu-Natal schools that had been part of the Jika iMfundo intervention from 2015 to 2017. While Jika iMfundo's aim is to shift HODs' leadership practices from being based on technical compliance to the achievement of a more developmental and supportive role, our findings show that the majority of HODs were not able to do this because of their heavy workloads and overwhelming administrative responsibilities. We argue that the theory of change based on the Programme for Improving Learning Outcomes (PILO) has unrealistic expectations of HODs as key levers of change for curriculum coverage and, furthermore, that this theory does not take into account the realities and variations of resourcing in different school contexts.

Keywords : curriculum coverage; Jika Imfundo; adaptive leadership; heads of departments; curriculum tracking; Programme for Improving Learning Outcomes.

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