Schools as legal persons: Implications for religion in education

  • Maitumeleng Albertina Nthontho
Keywords: conflict resolution, mediation, policy implementation, religion in education, religious diversity, schools as legal persons


Implementation of religion policy in schools has provoked contradictions and contestations in South Africa and across the globe. Reports on costly and protracted court cases and legislative battles between schools and parents as well as between schools and departments of education over religion in schools have been increasing at an alarming rate. In this article, I highlight some of the school management issues involved in the implementation of religion-in-education policy in some selected South African schools. Based on mediation theory, the study used individual interviews to gather data from 12 school principals, who were purposively selected regarding their experiences on the implementation of the religion-in-education policy in their schools. The study revealed that, despite the challenges raised by the implementation of the religion-in-education policy, the majority of the participating school principals displayed the qualities of a transformative mediator. I therefore recommend that school leadership programmes for school leaders offer mediation, and transformative mediation in particular, as a leadership and management course. Additionally, the teaching should focus on transformative mediation as a strategy that school principals can use to solve problems and handle disputes in schools. This is important because transformative mediation has potential benefits to the field of education.

Keywords: conflict resolution; mediation; policy implementation; religion in education; religious diversity; schools as legal persons


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-3433
print ISSN: 0256-0100