The changing role of district–based education support services in establishing the inclusive school settings : an ecosystemic approach
Makhalemele, Thabo Jan
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of support provided by District-Based Support Teams (DBSTs) to learners experiencing barriers to learning in the Free State province. The study focused specifically on the implementation of the changed role of the DBSTs as proposed by the Education White Paper 6 in 2001. This was a two-phased study involving a literature study and empirical research. The first phase of this study focused on a literature study undertaken on topics such as the history of learner support in South Africa, the previous role of Education Support Services at school and school district level and different education documentation and policy documents relating to the topic. Furthermore the literature study explored the ecosystemic approach to learner support specifically focusing on Bronfenbrenner‘s ecological systems theory and Epstein‘s model of human development. The second phase of the study comprised empirical research. A quantitative approach was used to collect data with a little element of the qualitative approach just to verify some information. For the quantitative component of the research, a questionnaire consisting of both closed and open-ended questions was administered, while for the qualitative component, the researcher held some interviews with participants selected randomly at first, but with a snowball effect. The research was conducted in all the districts of the Free State Department of Education. The data collected revealed that the implementation of the proposed changes to learner support is in fact subdued due to various problems experienced by District Based Support Teams. These problems hamper the effective implementation of the changes set out in various education policy documents. The study contributes to the practice of learner support by proposing a model for the DBSTs to implement their changed roles.
- Education