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Title: The inactive participation of parents as governors at schools for learners with special education needs
Authors: Haripersad, Premishwar 
Issue Date: 2017
This study was undertaken to establish the underlying reasons as to why parents do not actively participate in the governance of schools for learners with special education needs (LSEN).
I have been involved in the establishment and administration of these schools for a period spanning almost 39 years, the first 19 of which were under the auspices of separate development for the various population groups and the 20 years thereafter, in a democratised South Africa which resulted in the transformation of education for all of its people.
I am extremely fortunate to have witnessed how LSEN schools were governed during the previous dispensation by boards of management, on which I had the liberty of having served in the capacity of treasurer and subsequently chairperson of such boards at two LSEN schools. The enactment of the South African Schools Act, Act 84 of 1996, resulted in the establishment of school governing bodies and here again, I had the opportunity of serving as chairperson on one such governing body.
In comparing the governance of LSEN schools during these respective political dispensations, it became evident that currently, the membership of school governing bodies lacks expertise and there is a decline in the interest shown by parents to play an active role in the affairs of the institutions I was involved in. I was under the impression that the lack of parental interest was due to the fact that it was no longer a novelty of being elected as a governor and in the process, parents were reluctant to become involved in the education of their children. This conclusion was purely speculative and there was therefore an inherent desire within me to research such theory scientifically
This study afforded me the opportunity to gain an insight into the root causes as to why parents are reluctant to participate in school governance and related activities. The study also enabled me to examine existing literature on this subject so as to have an overview of the findings and recommendations of previous research undertaken. It is clearly evident from such findings that parents are indeed losing interest in becoming involved as the leaders in the education of their children. A number of factors have been identified for this state of affairs but notwithstanding the remedial measures recommended by researchers, it is apparent that the challenges are still prevalent.
The findings of this study lend credibility to the outcome of previous research undertaken. It is, however, apparent that the current system of governing LSEN schools is one of the significant factors that impedes the decision-making process, thereby necessitating the review of relevant legislation. This study also identifies other factors that impede active parental participation. These include ineffective training provided for governors, relationships between parents and management, lack of incentives and the timing of school governing body meetings and activities.
Submitted as fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree Master of Management Sciences: Public management, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2017.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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