Cultural implications for learners’ effectiveness as governors of schools in rural South Africa
The South African Schools Act, 84 of 1996, articulates the establishment of School Governing Bodies, which authorises stakeholders such as parents, educators and learners to participate actively in decision-making processes pertaining to school governance. The Act further stipulates that learners, through the Representative Council of Learners, should be afforded full opportunity to participate in crucial decisions by the broader governing body. The reason for undertaking the study reported on here was triggered by the concern raised by various authors about the high level of ineffectiveness of learners as governors of schools in South Africa. This study explored and analysed the significance of culture in relation to learners’ effectiveness as governors of schools in rural South Africa. A qualitative research approach, based on a purposive sampling method and interviews, was espoused by engaging members of the Representative Council of Learners in certain selected high schools of the Harry Gwala district in KwaZulu-Natal. The findings of the empirical study investigation divulged that culture was one of the main impediments to learners’ effective school governance in the rural South African setting. The study recommends the intervention of the Department of Education, with the view of creating an environment conducive to active learner participation in school governance in rural areas.
Keywords: representative council of learners; rural areas; school governance; school governing bodies; South African Schools Act
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