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Media Release

24 April, 2007

New programme to bolster school management

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) launched a new School Business Management programme today (Tuesday, 24 April 2007), in conjunction with partners in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

The aim of the programme is to contribute to improving the quality of education by building the management and administration capacity of schools.

The WCED and its partners launched the programme at a conference on School Business Management at the Old Mutual Business School, Old Mutual Park, in Pinelands.

Participants on three continents (United Kingdom, United States and South Africa) met via video conferencing to discuss the issues involved. The conference included workshops on key themes in school management.

Speakers addressed the gathering in Pinelands from a conference in Nottingham, UK, from a conference entitled "Leading Schools in the 21st Century: The role of the school business manager".

Cameron Dugmore, MEC for Education in the Western Cape, joined the event via video conferencing from Washington, United States, where he is currently developing partnerships for various education programmes.

"Education authorities worldwide are paying increasing attention to school leadership and management as critical success factors for improving the quality of education in their schools," said Ron Swartz, Head of Education in the Western Cape.

"We have come to realize that we have to adopt a holistic approach and focus on every aspect of education to turn education around. This includes effective school management as a key focus area.

"We have paid special attention to the issue of school management and governance in the Human Capital Development Strategy for the Western Cape, which provides the point of departure for all education planning in the province."

The strategy document states that "it is now essential that we re-establish the leadership position of principals and that we give them more powers of management".

Mr Swartz said that the conference marked a major step towards developing the management capacity of our schools, "to make it easier for principals to take up their positions as leaders in education and in social transformation".

This conference will look in particular at the role of school managers and administrators.

"These members of staff have a crucial role to play in easing the load on principals, so that they can spend more time on academic development," Mr Swartz said.

Cameron Dugmore, the MEC for Education, visited the UK in 2005 to found out more about what is being done to develop school business management skills in that country.

"Our MEC was impressed by what he saw," Mr Swartz said. "Various institutions in the UK have already developed highly successful programmes for school managers and administrators."

"We have learned a lot from our colleagues in the UK, who have now assisted us in developing a School Business Management programme for administrative staff at all schools in the Western Cape."

"The programme will contribute significantly towards ensuring effective management and administration in schools, while also freeing the principal from certain administrative duties, and to concentrate more on curricular issues."

The programme will develop skills that meet the objectives of the Human Capital Development Strategy.

The WCED is developing the programme in conjunction with several partners, namely:

  • The Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), in the UK
  • The National College of School Leadership (NSCL) in the UK
  • The Institute of Administrative Management (IAM)
  • The South African Bursars Institute of South Africa (SABISA), and
  • The Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA).

These programmes will range from certificate-level courses in School Business Management to Master's Degrees.

The WCED is collaborating with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the province's six Further Education and Training Colleges to offer the graduate and certificate programmes respectively.

The certificate programme will meet the accreditation requirements of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The Institute of Administrative Management will provide international accreditation.

"Our partners in the UK have already started training staff at our head office, our Education Management and Development Centres, FET colleges, and at UWC and SABISA," Mr Swartz said. "Their task will be to mentor and support candidates from schools who will embark on the certificate course."

This initial training is known as "Train the Trainers" courses. Trainees have to choose a school, look at school improvement issues and attend to an administrative problem at the school, and administer an appropriate turn-around strategy taken from the school's School Improvement Plan, or SIP.

The WCED and its partners are phasing in the programme over three years, starting with 150 schools in 2007/08 in an initial pilot phase. The department plans to extend this programme to 350 schools next year and to a further 500 schools in 2009/10.

The WCED is investing R16.4-million on this training. This programme is also serving as a pilot for the country as a whole.

"A remarkable feature of this project has been the willingness of our various partners to climb on board, Mr Swart said. "For this, we are extremely grateful."

"We share a vision of what effective management and administration can do for improving the quality of education in this province and the country as a whole."



Issued by:
Paddy Attwell
Director: Communication
Western Cape Education Department
Tel: 021 467 2531
Fax: 021 461 3694
Email: pattwell@pgwc.gov.za

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