Improving school governance through participative democracy and the law

There is an inextricable link between democracy, education and the law. After 15 years of constitutional democracy, the alarming percentage of dysfunctional schools raises questions about the efficacy of the system of local school governance. We report on the findings of quantitative and qualitative...

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Published in: South African journal of education Vol. 31; no. 1; pp. 55 - 73
Main Authors: Smit, Marius H, Oosthuizen, Izak J
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Portuguese
Published: South Africa Education Association of South Africa (EASA) 02-01-2011
North-West University
Education Association of South Africa
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Summary: There is an inextricable link between democracy, education and the law. After 15 years of constitutional democracy, the alarming percentage of dysfunctional schools raises questions about the efficacy of the system of local school governance. We report on the findings of quantitative and qualitative research on the democratisation of schools and the education system in North-West Province. Several undemocratic features are attributable to systemic weaknesses of traditional models of democracy as well as the misapplication of democratic and legal principles. The findings of the qualitative study confirmed that parents often misconceive participatory democracy for political democracy and misunderstand the role of the school governing body to be a political forum. Despite the shortcomings, the majority of the respondents agreed that parental participation improves school effectiveness and that the decentralised model of local school governance should continue. Recommendations to effect the inculcation of substantive democratic knowledge, values and attitudes into school governance are based on theory of deliberative democracy and principles of responsiveness, accountability and justification of decisions through rational discourse.
ISSN: 0256-0100
2076-3433
2076-3433
DOI: 10.15700/saje.v31n1a415