According to research the answer seems to be an unfortunate, “YES”. According to Gabrielle Wills, researcher with Research on Social Economic Policy (ReSEP) in the Economics Department at the University of Stellenbosch, the South African public education system is experiencing a substantial and rising number of school principal replacements due to the aging profile of incumbent principals. ” In a system of over 24 000 public schools, roughly 7 000 principals would have to be hired between 2012 and 2017 just to replace retiring principals.”
At some stage the retirement of school principals reached a staggering mark of 1 400 per year. This, according to ReSEP marks a 400% increase in retirements over the period between 2004 and 2008. This correlates with Penreach findings. In the Penreach Courageous Leadership Programme (PCLDP) the average age of principals is 52 years, with a typical experience of 9 years. In 2016 alone, 5 of the 24 principals enrolled in the programme, retired almost 21% of the total PCLDP population.
This phenomenon is however not isolated and in most cases have an influence on school and academic performances. The need for a suitable leadership development programmes can thus not be underestimated. As a thought leader in education and specifically in school leadership, Penreach therefor introduced the PCLDP to 24 primary schools in the Malelane and Khulangwane Circuit, specifically to address the above mentioned issue. The purpose of the PCLDP is to provide management and delivery capacity for a school leadership and management intervention that is designed to enhance learner performance outcomes.
A common model is used across all levels of leadership in the PCLDP programme and including principals as well as their deputies and HoDs in the programme is key. This ensures not only sustainability of skills learnt and maximising outputs, but also guarantees stability during transition when principals are replaced and or vacancies occur. The programme is furthermore developed to support the individual participants in assimilating new tools and practices into their daily activities and to embed professional attitudes throughout the teaching and learning space, but it also ensures that valuable skills, knowledge and experiences are shared across all school management levels.
Another core component in support of the above and adding to the sustainability of the programme, is coaching. One-on-one coaching creates an ideal platform for Penreach Change Agents to track outputs; provide additional support to School Management Team (SMT) members and clarify concepts where necessary. Also, should any one of the school management team members move to another school, the skills and experience will not be lost and the peer to peer education will ensure that new members benefit from the programme.
To learn more about the programme, click on the links below: