University of Johannesburg (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 542-551
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
The requirements for a post of Principal in Gauteng (South Africa) states that the applicant must have leadership, management and administration skills in order to be considered for a post. How does an interview panel determine if a candidate possess these attributes or meets the necessary requirements if the candidate only has teaching experience and may have been exposes to a leadership position within the school system?. Currently there are no pre-requisited courses to prepare aspirant applicants for the job of principal.

This study investigates, whether there exists a need for the professional development of newly-appointed high school principals in Gauteng. The aim of the qualitative study is to determine what these needs are.

Gauteng schools are divided into two categories, performing or underperforming schools. Literature states clearly that the principal’s first priority is to ensure that the academic performance of his/her school falls into the category of a performing school. The key role of a school principal is thus “to protect and promote the quality of education in their schools” [1]. Thereafter principal must manage the school according the South African Schools Act (SASA) and Circulars from the provincial educational authorities.

It is clear from this investigation/study that the need has arisen from the monument the principal sign the acceptance letter. From the moment the principal is appointed to the office he/she is responsible for the entire operational workings of the school. Questions asked during the study included whether one was part of an induction programme; did one receive a job description; what are one’s roles and responsibilities in leadership, management and administration, what are the managerial challenges that one faces as newly-appointed principals; what skills do principals need in order to be effective and which courses should principals attend and from whom do they receive development support?.

From the study it is clear that the principal’s interviewed are of the opinion that there exists a need for the professional development of newly-appointed principals. The professional development programme should start with a well-structured induction programme and a mentorship programme where newly-appointed principals can receive mentoring assistance. None of the above interventions currently exist in Gauteng.

From current available literature it is clear that the principal is responsible for his/her own development. All educators in South Africa must be registered with the South African Council for Educators (SACE). In 2014 principals had to register for a three year cycle wherein they have to obtain 150 points by completing a variety of prescribed activities that contribute towards their professional development.

It is clear that twenty years into democracy, major changes have taken place in the South African educational arena. The lack of professional development for principals instituted by their employer however remains an area of concern. If this concern is address by the employer and newly-appointed principals are empowered with skills, knowledge and support, a situation could be achieved whereby underperforming schools become nullified.

I believe that this paper will contribute towards a wider acknowledgement of the current lack and need for professional development to prepare newly-appointed principals for the task that lie ahead of them.
Professional development, newly appointed principals, Gauteng, principals, induction programme, skills, knowledge, performing school, underperforming school, qualitative study.