PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF NEWLY-APPOINTED PRINCIPALS
University of Johannesburg (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:South African education twenty-one years later, is the system better post-apartheid or do we have problems? As a democratic country with an apartheid past we continue to have to work through issues, an example of such is the education system wherein five new curriculums where introduced within a period of two decades. The challenge that the current system faces is to uplift the majority of the country’s learners to the academic level of a minority. This minority enjoys an educational infrastructure inherited from the apartheid years in terms of functional school buildings; ablution facilities, academic resources etc. Other than the socio economic problems, newly-appointed principals have to deal with the education department, educators, learners, parents and unions. Principals have to familiarise themselves with the South African Schools Act, their job description, the operational logistics of the school that they have been appointed to, and simultaneously build up a relationship with the stakeholders of the school including and chiefly the School Governing Body (SGB). All these factors can become overwhelming, to the newly-appointed principal. The additional responsibilities imposed on principals, especially those newly- appointed, in many public schools make great demands on the incumbents, especially principals embarking upon the role for the first time. Professional development should be the key issue that the national and provincial departments pay attention to.
In this study, that was conducted in the province of Gauteng deals with the issue of the professional development of newly-appointed principals. The aim is to determine whether newly-appointed principals form part of an induction programme whereby they are informed about their duties, responsibilities and development opportunities. This study uses the mixed method research approach: 107 vacant principal posts were advertised in the province during the period 2010 to 2013. The 107 newly- appointed incumbents formed the participants of this quantitative component of the research study. Out of the 107, 81.31% of these principals participated in the study. In the qualitative research component of the study nine principals were selected, to represent five of the fifteen districts (34%) of total in the interview process wherein data was collected.
The appointment of new principals with poor leadership and management skills has created an array of problematic areas, negative experiences, and false expectations. This has resulted in public educational institutions being more difficult to lead.
The continuous professional development of principals through the inculcation of lifelong learning, human resource management skills, and time, conflict and people management competencies can aid in an intelligible and sustainable approach to building leadership and management skills amongst newly-appointed principals on their journeys towards achieving school goals, values and shared visions.
I believe that this paper will contribute towards a wider acknowledgement of the current lack of professional development of newly appointed principals and the pressing need to reverse this trend.
Keywords: Gauteng, professional development, principals, newly appointed, skills, leadership, management, School Governing Body.