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Challenges faced by female secondary school principals in the Qumbu Education District of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa

By Jonguxolo Sobekwa


The purpose of this study was to investigate and explore the challenges faced by female secondary school principals when discharging their duties. This study was done because it was not a normal practice before 1994 to have a female person as the head of a learning institution. This was specifically linked to the implementation of equity as enshrined and entrenched in the constitution no.108, of 1996 of the Republic of South Africa. It is almost 18 years since the proclamation of equity in the constitution; it was therefore of great importance to evaluate the ground covered in terms of implementation of this equity. The equity mentioned in Chapter 2, section 9 of the constitution resulted in the formulation of the Employment Equity Act no.55 of 1998 as amended. The implementation of the Employment Equity Act no.55 of 1998 was expected to have an impact on the way the female school secondary principals were received by the community. Currently all departments are compelled to employ women in managerial positions and this receives opposition in some sectors of the population. This study was conducted in Qumbu education district in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It focused on secondary school principals. The study used a quantitative research design to elicit data from the respondents. Data were collected from 46 participants through the use of a questionnaire. 32 questionnaires were returned and the data were processed. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used in the analysis of the data. The findings of the study revealed several challenges confronting female secondary school principals both in the workplace and at home. In the workplace, on one hand, female principals are faced with insubordination from male educators; poor parental involvement and cultural stereotypes; and on the other hand, at home, they were confronted by minimal support from their partners/ spouses. In the light of the findings, the researcher recommended that the Department of Basic Education organize capacity-building workshops to develop leadership skills; replacement strategies for ageing principals; women‟s conferences to advocate women‟s rights; and programmes for female principals and their husbands, called Men As Partners (MAP). The study succeeded in portraying a picture of what is presently taking place in secondary schools that are headed by female principals. Some of the limitations encountered by the researcher during the study included the reluctance of the participants to take part in the research, the non-accessibility of schools in deep rural areas, the return rate of completed questionnaires; and the obtaining of permission to undertake the study

Topics: School principals -- Education (Secondary)
Publisher: 'Necatibey Faculty of Education Electronics Journal of Science and Mathematics Education'
Year: 2012
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