The perceptions of stakeholders of accountability in Schools: a critical analysis
This study focused on the perception of stakeholders of accountability in selected schools of the Mafikeng area in the North West Province through a critical analysis. The main aim of the study was to illuminate the meaning of accountability from a school stakeholder’s perspective. To achieve the objectives of the study, a qualitative paradigm was adopted which had a multiple case study. Data was collected from 15 purposively selected participants through an in-depth individual interview, participant observation and document analysis. Data analysis process on the other hand involved the transcription of the raw data followed by open-coding of data from the participants’ actual response. The findings were then presented in the form of a narration with all the aspects of ethical consideration respected. The findings from the study revealed that stakeholders have different concepts with similar meanings that is applied in dealing with issues of accountability in schools and also that the meaning of accountability is differently perceived. One common idea from the study is that for one to be held accountable he/she must be given certain responsibilities that should be applied. It logically followed that in terms of who to be held accountable in a school, for what and by whom, every stakeholder involved in the running of the school is capable of being held accountable. This is evident in the findings from the literature review and the empirical study which revealed that drastic measures like suspension and dismissal can be taken against stakeholders who failed to perform their responsibilities or task. However, findings from the empirical study disclose that dismissal is usually considered the last option in the management of schools while interest of the learners is most paramount. Moreover, findings from the empirical study further revealed that no single section or individual of a school as an oganisation can operate in isolation in the accountability of schools. At the school level a principal is generally the main accountable officer but not without collaboration from the subject HODs, SMTs and SGBs. The SGB for instance comprises selected stakeholders from all the sections of the school. This to a larger extent implies that every stakeholder including non-teaching staffs like parents can also be held accountable because they constitute a majority of the SGB. This study is relevant in that it brings about exposure to the fact that accountability is not only a financial matter but extends to other issues of school management such as autonomy in the maintenance of school property, learner safety and performances as well as the recruitment of educators by school authorities like SGBs and SMTs. Hence, it brings about a significant contribution to the body of knowledge and practical operation of matters that deal with accountability such as financial control. Also, it brings about clarity of the idea that the management of a school is not the sole responsibility of the principal but the entire school governance. In connection to this, the study helps to ensure more clarity on the side of the Department of Education on accountability in the broader spectrum of management and administration. Finally, it further brings about clarity of SGBs in accountability particularly in the domain of policy making and implementation hence emphasising the importance of parents.
- Education