Leading for Social Justice in South African Schools: Where Have All the Activists Gone?

Chapter
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 29)

Abstract

During the South Africa apartheid era, legislation perpetuated social inequality based primarily on race but also class, gender, and language. Policies promoted centralized, authoritarian control of education. In direct contrast, the proliferation of policies post-1994 reflects the democratic government’s commitment to transform schools into inclusive places of learning. Policies articulate a shift from constructions of leadership as headship to participatory school leadership approaches, of which teacher leadership is one manifestation. Drawing on the theoretical work of William Foster and a range of SA studies on teacher leadership, this chapter contends that leadership is largely absent in SA schools, and instead, management processes masquerade as leadership. While teachers across the studies supported the notion of shared leadership and believed they were equipped to lead, their leadership was largely restricted to classrooms. Furthermore, school-level decision-making remained the domain of the school management team. The chapter argues for a critical education leadership perspective and explores what it means to lead for social justice and inclusion in SA schools. It highlights the urgent need for rigorous debates around issues of leadership for social justice. In particular, it calls for transformative leaders, social activists, who have the courage and vision to challenge their existing “habitus” around leadership practices and raise questions of exclusion and marginalization.

Keywords

Transformative Leader Teacher Leadership Leadership Practice Mainstream School African National Congress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Education Department, Faculty of EducationRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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