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close this bookFurther Diploma in Education (Educational Management) by Distance Education at the University of Pretoria, South Africa (CIE, 2002, 55 p.)
close this folder4. Background of the Learners
View the document4.1 The respondents
View the document4.2 Course level and age
View the document4.3 Current post and experience
View the document4.4 Gender, language and racial classification
View the document4.5 Location of the respondents' schools
View the document4.6 Socio-economic situation

4.1 The respondents

The total number of respondents was 457. As Table 1 shows, a third of the respondents came from Hammanskraal and two-thirds were classified as Distance Education students. For every question there were respondents who did not answer the questions and therefore all the tables will only indicate percentages.

Table 1: Respondents

Group

%

Hammanskraal

33.57

Distance education

66.43

Table 2: The percentage of students using the examination centres

Centres

%

Hammanskraal

32.07

Butterworth

34.75

Nkandla

20.49

Pretoria

12.69

According to the initial planning there were supposed to be the same number of respondents at every centre. The numbers of students who actually attended the examination sessions were less than the number who enrolled for the examination. Therefore there were not the planned number of about 150 respondents at every centre. However the number of respondents was still adequate to make the required interpretations.

4.2 Course level and age

Table 3: Course level of the respondents

Course Level

%

First year

68.28

Second year

31.72

The majority of the respondents are currently in their first year of study.

Table 4: Age of the respondents

Age range

%

20-24

1.05

25-29

13.24

30-34

27.87

35-39

20.91

40-44

16.72

45-49

15.68

50-54

3.14

55+

1.39

The majority of the respondents (48.78%) are between 30 - 39 years of age, while there is a substantial number of respondents (32.4%) who are between 40 - 49 years. This indicates that a significant number of teachers have many years of experience. This may influence their ability to study, because of the many years of absence of study. Usually the first year of study is more difficult, until they are disciplined again to study after hours.

4.3 Current post and experience

Table 5: Current post of the respondents

Post held

%

Teacher

81.80

Head of department

7.87

Deputy principal

3.82

Principal

5.84

Other:

0.67

We expected teachers to be in the majority, simply because they do the teaching and they are the majority in numbers in any school. Although the courses were not developed with the specific aim of training teachers in management posts, the 17.% of the respondents in management posts is much lower than might be expected. However, it can be assumed that there must be a higher percentage of the management group because they did not have any official management training before accepting the promotional post. Teachers do not receive any substantial financial remuneration after they have completed the diploma. That said, it is therefore a positive tendency that so many teachers will have a management qualification because it may assist them to be better managers, which may have a positive influence on the teaching environment. The fact that so many of the cohort are teachers without management experience suggests a need to restructure the curriculum with that in mind, a point we return to in the analysis section.

During our discussions, the students at the Hammanskraal campus provided possible reasons why there are not more teachers from the management group, i.e. head of departments and headteachers. The management group feels that they are already in a management post and therefore they do not need management training More importantly, the managers, especially the principals, do not want to be in the same course with the teachers because if the teachers do better than the principals in the examination, the principals will feel threatened and embarrassed in such a situation. Although this is not a valid reason it creates problems because the managers do not participate in the management training that they actually need.

Another problem with teachers with management qualifications relates to principals who feel threatened in the school and do not want to accept the assistance of the better-qualified teachers. This creates tension between teachers and principals; teachers feel that their efforts are not recognised and therefore become demotivated.

Table 6: Experience of working in education at any level

Years

%

1-5

19.28

6-10

34.33

11-15

16.27

16-20

15.36

21-25

8.74

26-30

4.21

31-35

1.21

35+

0.60

The majority of the respondents (53.61%) have a maximum of 10 years experience in education. This correlates with the information from the previous table namely that the majority of the respondents are teachers, and that may be why the majority of the respondents are still relatively inexperienced. This is a positive indication because these teachers will already have a management qualification when they are promoted in the future to a management post. This might improve effective management of schools.

Table 7: Experience in my current post

Years

%

1-5

28.75

6-10

38.34

11-15

16.62

16-20

9.90

21-25

3.51

26-30

2.24

31-34

0.64

The majority of respondents (67.09%) have ten years or less experience in their current posts. This implies that many of the people in management posts do not have much experience in their posts. This factor combined with little or no management training may make it difficult for the management groups in schools to manage schools effectively.

Table 8: Highest professional qualification

Qualification

%

A two-year teacher diploma

24.39

A three-year teacher diploma

32.79

A four-year teacher diploma

23.85

A post-graduate teaching diploma

17.89

Technical Diploma

1.08

The teachers who say they only have a two-year teacher diploma, probably have an additional qualification, else they will not be able to enrol for this course. The majority of the respondents have at least three or four years of training, which is acceptable, especially for the primary and junior secondary phases.

4.4 Gender, language and racial classification

Table 9: Gender of the respondents

Gender

%

Female

77.20

Male

22.80

The majority of the students are women, which reflects the normal trend in schools, that there are more women than men teaching.

Table 10: Gender according to post levels

Post held

Female %

Male %

Teacher

79.44

20.56

Head of department

67.65

32.35

Deputy principal

52.94

47.06

Principal

69.23

30.77

The data in Table 10 indicates a direct comparison between the number of women and men at the different post levels. Although the respondents in the sample are not representative of the whole population of teachers in the country, the results are interesting. In contradiction to some beliefs, it does not seem that women are severely under-represented at the management levels in schools. While almost 80% of the sample were women, nearly 70% of the principals were also women, as were two-thirds of the heads of department. By contrast, there were relatively more men holding deputy principalships.

Although all the respondents in the sample were Africans, there are a few students of the other race groups in the course. They are by far the minority, especially the Afrikaans-speaking, white students. The reason may be that the course is marketed in the rural areas at schools that were previously only targeted for African learners. It is here where the biggest need is for teachers to up grade their qualification.

Table 11: Language of the respondents

Language

%

English

3.96

Afrikaans

0

Xhosa

34.96

Zulu

24.01

Tswana

22.14

Sotho

9.32

Tsonga

4.90

Swazi

0.23

Ndebele

0.47

As Table 11 shows, the majority of the respondents are Zulu, Tswana and Xhosa speaking because of the geographical area for the sample. This language distribution is not representative of the population. According to this sample there are no Afrikaans speaking students but there is a very small number in the course

4.5 Location of the respondents' schools

Table 12: Location of the schools

Location

%

Urban e.g. Pietersburg

3.04

Township e.g. Mamelodi or Sheshego

13.32

Rural e.g. not in a town or in a township

83.64

The representation of the schools fits the normal distribution of schools in South Africa, namely the majority of schools are in the rural areas. These are normally not well equipped with resources and do not have sufficient funds available to improve the learning environment in schools.

Although the centres where the students completed the questionnaires are not in big centres like Cape Town or Durban, in Pretoria, which is a big city, only 57 students were present at that centre. The current mode of delivery of the Further Diploma in Education Management is therefore important because the students enrolled for this course do not live near big cities where the tertiary training institutions are situated. They will therefore not be able to attend full-time courses presented at these training institutions and thus it is important to create alternative opportunities. Distance education, which includes interactive support, is an ideal opportunity for these students. The students studying at the Hammanskraal campus may also be identified as distance education learners, because they only attend lectures for a short period of time and for the rest of the time they are on their own with the normal support of the lecturers.

4.6 Socio-economic situation

Table 13: Socio-economic situation of the respondents

Accessible facilities

Frequency (out of 457)

%

A computer in your house

19

4.15

A computer near your house, e.g. a community centre

28

6.12

A computer with internet facilities

7

1.53

The library of the University of Pretoria

31

6.78

Any library with academic books and journals

61

13.34

Electricity in your house

255

55.79

Electricity in your school

182

33.26

A telephone

248

54.26

Table 13 shows that most students do not have access to libraries and computers, especially with Internet facilities. Libraries and computers are supposed to be important resources of information for students, but in this case it has many limitations. Due to the inadequate and low-standard transport and postal system, access to these resources is mostly impossible. This has serious implications for the mode of delivery of the course. The lack of transport, electricity and the related electronic equipment like televisions, computers and internet will make it even more difficult for the students to access additional information beyond what they currently receive as part of the course content.

The lack of electricity also has a negative influence on the access to information and communication that may influence the ability of the students to improve their study environment. In sum one can describe this environment as one of deprived studying circumstances for the students.