Democratic School Governance, Leadership and Management: A Case Study of Two Schools in South Africa

Comparative Sciences: Interdisciplinary Approaches

ISBN: 978-1-78350-455-8, eISBN: 978-1-78350-456-5

ISSN: 1479-3679

Publication date: 7 May 2015


This chapter reports on a qualitative study that investigated the functioning of school governing bodies as a tool for promoting democracy in two schools. Data was gathered through interviews, observations and document reviews. Findings revealed that democracy was in existence and practiced at both schools and that it was characterized by shared decision-making and acknowledged rights of individuals, representation, participation and equality. Two structures for promoting democracy were found to be in existence in both schools, and these are school governing bodies and representative councils for learners. Such structures were found to be functioning effectively and contributing to the democracy in schools. However, although the learner voice was represented at both schools, learner participation in crucial issues in both the schools was limited. The study recommends that all teachers, learners and parent representatives on the SGBs be trained in skills such as deliberation, debate, dialogue and managing differences. Furthermore, training or capacity building related to advocacy skills and leadership development should be provided for all members of the SGB including teachers. The more learners, parents and staff are involved in school policy and decision-making, the more there is a genuine community involvement in schools, and the more effective a school becomes. Also, schools need to move towards learner-initiated decision-making where learners initiate the process and invite adults to join them in decision-making. Also, there is need for teachers to be trained in democratic ways of operating in the school and classroom, which will possibly help them learn ways of working democratically in both the whole school and the classroom.



Mncube, V., Davies, L. and Naidoo, R. (2015), "Democratic School Governance, Leadership and Management: A Case Study of Two Schools in South Africa", Comparative Sciences: Interdisciplinary Approaches (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 26), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 189-213.

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