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Base de datos de evaluación

Evaluation report

SAF 1999/802: The Self-Managing Schools Project: A Review of Implementation in N7 District



Author: Bernard, D.; Govinda, R.; Letshabo, K.

Executive summary

Background

The Gauteng Province Department of Education with assistance from UNICEF conceived the Self-Managing Schools (SMS) project in June and July 1997 to develop a means to implement the stipulations of the South African Schools Act. The overall goal of the project was to examine the implications, benefits and problems of bringing management closer to the level where teaching and learning takes place and to improve the efficiency of the school system.

Purpose / Objective

The objectives of this review are to:

- Assess and analyze the various ways in which the 50 pilot schools have implemented self management

- Assess the extent of positive changes with respect to vital aspects of school functioning, such as enrollment, attendance, community participation, educational outcomes, teaching and learning environment and general quality of education

- Assess how the current set of new powers delegated to the school can be expanded to include annual school development plans, with specific targets related to both quantitative and qualitative improvement

Methodology

A study of documents and reports was conducted. Discussion meetings with district and provincial officials were held. A half-day workshop was conducted involving 47 of the 50 pilot project principals. The Review Team also visited a sample of 11 SMS schools. Special instruments were prepared to record observations.

Key Findings and Conclusions

All schools have constituted a School Governing Board (SGB) according to the specifications. The introduction of budget preparation and decision making on matters related to school provisions seems to have given a clear direction and purpose for the SGB. Several of them have taken steps to add additional members from the community to make the SGB more representative.

Only a few schools visited prepared plans in the comprehensive manner suggested for school development planning. Budgets are often based on an examination by departments of what was received last year and what they feel they need next year to function properly. The Gauteng Department of Education is currently training the governing bodies in the schools with the aim of making them active participants in school matters.

SMS staff are highly pleased with the new financial authority they have been provided. Most feel that all expenditures, except teachers' salaries, should come under the control of the schools themselves. There are clear indications that SMS staff feel a new sense of empowerment.

There is much dissatisfaction among school authorities with the Provisioning Administration System. Among the most serious problems are incomplete lists of items and inaccurate pricing in the catalogue, which leads to higher actual expenditures than those budgeted. In many instances, requested orders are delivered late, in part, or not at all.

District Education Coordinators are responsible for the monitoring and support of schools in areas of management and financial administration. SMS schools do not routinely report progress towards any school improvement objectives they may have set, but are required to prepare monthly financial reports and a comprehensive expenditure report at the end of the year for both publicly- and locally-obtained income. An important advance made by SMS has been the placement of administrative clerks in schools. This has contributed greatly to lessening the workloads of the principals and the educators who may have been assigned these tasks in the past.

Interviews with district officials have revealed that the improvement of teaching and learning are to be achieved through the implementation of activities of the Learning Support Material provisioning system. SMS schools are presently implementing this program. While those educators who are on the SGB or School Management Team (SMT) have participated in some activities, the same could not be said of other educators. The implementation process has not yet overcome a serious problem in the shortage of textbooks. Implementation of the SMS project has focused on the activities of the SGB and SMT, and less on the educator and learner activities.

Educators in some schools seem more committed to their roles as educators. Change seems to be uneven among educators, particularly in larger schools. On the whole, both educators and learners agreed that the process of bringing school governance closer to the beneficiaries was a positive development of the teaching-learning process. Principals as well as teachers report that there is a positive shift in the attitude of parents towards school and school functioning.

Recommendations

Assess training needs through dialogue with the schools. Establish an SMS training team at district level that can flexibly respond with localized training.

Encourage and provide professional support for schools to document the strategies evolved by them for implementing different aspects of SMS. As new concepts and approaches for SMS are developed, monitoring, evaluation and accountability should be included in planning.

The next step in implementing SMS could be specifically geared to the improvement of the instructional environment. Continuous professional development of educators has to receive immediate attention. Additionally, textbooks and other support materials should be provided.



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Report information

Date:
1999

Region:
ESARO

Country:
South Africa

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Education - Management

Partners:
Gauteng Department of Education, UNICEF

PIDB:

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
1999/802

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