The jika imfundo curriculum intervention: narratives of three principals of underperforming secondary schools in a rural context.
Zondi, Promise Khethiwe.
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The purpose of the study is to examine the experiences of principals of underperforming secondary schools in a rural context, with regard to the implementation of the Jika iMfundo curriculum intervention. South Africa is experiencing a decline in the outcomes of many public schools. This is evident in secondary schools’ National Senior Certificate (NSC) results where some schools persistently perform below 65% academically, which is a benchmark for underperformance by the Department of Education. Further, there are schools which still attain 0% pass rate in the NSC results. This academic decline is an indication that the South African education system is gravitating towards a crisis. Despite the introduction of Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) into the schooling system, the country has not yet reached a level where 90% of candidates achieve at least 50% in mathematics, sciences and languages. Literature reveals that poor academic performance is due to inadequate curriculum coverage. Given the poor learning outcomes, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (KZN DoE) has partnered with Programme for Improving Learner Outcomes (PILO) and introduced the Jika iMfundo curriculum intervention. The Jika iMfundo curriculum intervention aims at promoting curriculum implementation by providing support to educators. It aims at ensuring that instruction is taking place and curriculum is covered. Moreover, the Jika iMfundo aims at capacitating SMTs and District officials to monitor the implementation of curriculum. This study presents the stories of three principals of underperforming rural secondary schools, in Pinetown District in KZN. McLaughlin’s (1987) conceptual framework on the implementation of policy and Hallinger and Murphy’s (1985) instructional leadership theory underpin this study. Using an interpretive, qualitative approach and narrative inquiry methodology, I conducted narrative interviews to generate field texts. The analysis of data was done at two levels. The first level was narrative analysis and the second level was the analysis of narratives. Together with the three participants, I constructed their stories which assisted in understanding their experiences of implementing the Jika iMfundo curriculum intervention. Through the analysis of narratives, it became evident that the creation of an encouraging, warm and conducive work environment has a positive bearing on the working relationships between the school principal and educators and among educators themselves. The heathy relationships contribute to the increased work morale, effective schools and school improvement.