Effective school management is universally accepted as being the critical element in the success of schools. Many South African schools are struggling to meet their own, community and Departmental criteria for success. This is usually related to the capacity, competence and nature of the school’s management team and particularly the principal.
The competency of school principals is therefore considered a national imperative, which poses an enormous challenge to the education system. The demand for professional school managers is growing. A major challenge within the education system is finding visionary and competent leaders and managers. These leaders need appropriate administrative skills and professional education management competencies.
The demands on school management have changed, with emphasis growing on managing learning, safe, diverse, integrated, and challenging, school environments appropriate to a 21st century progressive African country. We need principals with the ability to interpret the demands of their jobs and determine how they will perform this within the context of national development. The principals need to tap into the full potential of themselves and the rest of the school community, while seeing their job within the context of improving teaching and learning in the school.
The Individualistic management development models will not suffice for this purpose. The professional development needs to build the ability of our principals to work in a holistic way, bringing in staff, community and other partners in a supportive manner.
Following the above understanding and in response thereto, the Department of Basic Education (DBE), identified the need to formulate key strategies for creating an environment that is conducive to effective learning and teaching in our schools, where school managers are key role players in attainment of quality education.
These strategies are intended to support Action Plan to 2019: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025 commitments made in the education sector plan. The document begins with an analysis of key issues that emerged from the discussions for creating working schools under the following themes:
- Key challenges to be addressed;
- Description of key challenges;
- Responding to the demand of existing policy;
- Rationale for addressing the challenges;
- Strategies to deal with the identified challenges; and
- Table of recommended strategy.