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E. Venter, P. du Plessis

University of Johannesburg (SOUTH AFRICA)
In South Africa 12 year old learners (grade 6) in primary schools are already identified as leaders. Adolescence (boys14 to 21 years girls 12 to 21 years) is the period when leadership potential of the individual should start budding. The amount of time creates an opportunity to start developing all adolescents to their full potential as leaders. At this stage of their development learners are still spontaneously developing socially in the areas of forming groups and sub groups. It should be noted that this group now occur in a transitional phase known as puberty. During this phase they are often affected emotionally by parents, teachers and the community in general. According to Ericson’s epigenetic principle this phase in life is considered a critical period of development and is the basis of identity forming.
The purpose of this study is to establish the perception of learners and parents on the importance of leadership development from structured surveys as well as drawing up a set of criteria which can facilitate management groups in advancing the leadership development of learners.

All learners in South Africa should have the opportunity of developing their leadership potential with the aid of teachers. According to Ericson’s epigenetic principle teachers and peer groups play a very big role in this stage of a learner’s life cycle. Learners must be trained for their task and acquire the knowledge and skills to satisfy the requirements of their group to achieve their targets. Leadership can be learned by the whole youth group, both those with natural leadership ability and even those with minimum ability.

Leadership development is a lifelong process, but it must be supported from early on (note the accent on development). Though all learners have the potential of leadership it is often not realized. Too little attention is paid to its development partly because learners are not given the advantage or opportunity to develop as a leader. It has been proven over the years that training and leadership development is beneficial for humanity.

Violence in schools is a sign of insufficient leadership- and personal development in primary schools. A positive climate can be created at schools if attention is given to aspects such as discipline, security, authority, love, skills, challenges, self-sufficiency and the uniqueness of learners and teachers. A positive school culture- and climate are crucial elements which can be connected to aspects such as risk prevention and attempts at advancing education, learning and leadership development.

A case study has been selected based on observation, experience and social realities in 5 primary schools in South Africa, Gauteng, Johannesburg North area. Own experience and experience with social realities have been supported with literature studies and augmented with the quantitative technique.

At present leadership development is not possible in many South African schools as about 77% of learners feel unsafe at school. Shocking crimes are committed in schools partly as a result of a lack in leadership development. The above information points to a lack of attention given to the preparation and training of potential leaders.