Learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of principals’ leadership in Soweto secondary schools: A social justice analysis
The legislative framework for education in South Africa enforces the democratisation and transformation of education consistent with the values of human dignity, equity, human rights, and freedom. As ex officio members of School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and professional managers of schools, principals should play a pivotal role in providing transformative leadership for social justice in these schools. The purpose of this study was to examine, through a social justice framework, how teachers and learners who are SGB members perceive and experience the principals’ leadership in Soweto secondary schools. Five schools were purposefully sampled for this qualitative case study. Data were collected through semi-structured focus group interviews and follow-up individual interviews. Findings suggest that learners and teachers experience sampled schools as democratically untransformed with a climate fraught with unfairness, inequity, disregard for human rights, and intolerance of diversity. The leadership behaviour of principals is perceived as a barrier to democratic transformation and
social justice and this engenders resistance and threatens management effectiveness.
Keywords: learners; principals; secondary schools; social justice; Soweto; teachers; transformative leadership
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