An investigation into how school governing bodies can assist with the performance of underperforming and dysfunctional schools in less advantaged urban communities in the Western Cape
After 15 years in the democratic dispensation of South Africa, having access, equity and redress in educational provision have not yet been achieved. Instead, the reality speaks of underperformance (schools with a less than 60% national matric pass rate) as well as dysfunctional schools (with a less than 20% pass rate) continue in the Western Cape amidst a 7% increase in the Matric pass rate nationally.The intention of the Western Cape Education Department (hereafter referred to as the WCED) to reduce the number of dysfunctional schools from 85 to 55 resulted in a decrease to 78 schools. The overall increase of the 2010 matric pass rate in the Western Cape from 75.7% to 76.8% does not reflect an increase of quality educational provision to children from less advantaged urban areas. The aim of this study is to determine how and why some formerly identified dysfunctional and underperforming schools in less advantaged urban areas improved their performance while others did not. Also looking at, the role played by the School Governing Body in improving performance as a stakeholder, especially the role of the parental entity. It is clear that there are particular challenges facing parents from disadvantaged communities that directly influence their involvement and contribution to the improvement of performance in dysfunctional and underperforming schools. This research project focuses entirely on education but it is done within the field of development studies, trying to address certain developmental issues that impact educational provision and performance The theory of Structuration is used in the theoretical framework to understand the relationship between the agent (learners, parents, educators) and the structure (education system, society). It is useful to understand and address the challenges that prevent/delay improvement in the performance and function of schools in certain less advantaged urban communities. The Humanistic paradigm is used as a theory to emphasise the importance of a grassroots/ bottom up approach to development and to bring better understanding of parental involvement in educational provision. The mixed method approach (using both qualitative and quantitative research methods) that is widely acceptable in the field of educational research and in the development milieu is applied to address the question at hand. The use of a literature study, semi-structured interviews with focus groups and questionnaires to participating schools provide useful data for the research. The findings from this research will benefit the participating schools, the WCED and the education system.