The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) repository holds full-text theses and dissertations submitted for higher degrees at the University (including submissions from former Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon).
Currently any Post Level One Educator in South Africa may be appointed to the position of
School Principal with only the basic qualification, i.e. matric and a three-year teaching diploma
(REQV 13). As per the Educators Employment Act (1998), the minimum teaching experience
required for a principalship range from 3-7 years depending on the grading of the school (P1- 4
for primary schools and S1 -4 for secondary schools). According to these stipulations, a
qualification in management or another form of validation to ensure that candidates have the
ability to cope with the demands of the management of a school is not a requirement.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the challenges experienced and coping strategies new
school managers (school principals) employ to manage their institutions. It also addresses the
common challenges and obstacles faced by new school managers.
The study was conducted in the Western Cape using a mixed method qualitative approach to
investigate the research questions. After the development of the data collecting instruments, data
was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and interviews. The questionnaires were sent
to thirty school managers in primary and secondary schools in the seven Education Management
Development Centres. The data collected was used to ascertain what the challenges are school
manager's face. Subsequently five new school managers were interviewed to find what coping
strategies they use. A second set of questionnaires were sent to 100 new school principals to
ascertain the challenges experienced and coping strategies employed.
The research reveals the following aspects: (1) there is a lack of support from the Western Cape
Education Department for new school principals; (2) research respondents identified a need for
mentoring to assist them to cope; (3) there is a need for a management qualification to help
principals to manage their schools as educators are only trained to become classroom teachers;
( 4) the Western Cape Education Department need to consult with schools regarding, among
others, schools' year programs as this clash with dates of departmental programmes.