Newsletter 224 - Professionalizing Principalship Part 3
Articles and books
The aforementioned overview must be seen in relation to the growing awareness in South Africa that the task of the school principal has changed irrevocably. The question is no longer whether the principal has a management or leadership task, but rather how the principal should be trained or prepared for the task of principalship (Van der Westhuizen, 1988:378; Gallie et al.,1997:460-465; Hallinger, 2006:1). The preceding references point to a growing concern that the appointment of school principals, on the grounds of academic and professional qualifications with a specific classroom teaching and learning focus, is not sufficient. Teaching excellence is not necessarily a valid indicator of the management and leadership task of a principal. This explains the steadily increasing demand since the 1970s for a formal, academic and professional qualification, specifically for principalship.
However, the Department of Education (2005) states unequivocally that no national standard or structure exists for the training and accreditation of school principals. The issues mentioned relate, in particular, to the main characteristics of a profession, i.e. specialised training, standards, and accreditation (Palomares & Castillo, 2004:151-152; Oosthuizen, 2005:107-109).
Steyn (2000) emphasises the changing task of the school principal and underlines that they need to be trained for their “new” role. Kunene and Prew (2005:4) recently highlighted some of the advantages such as a uniform professional and academic qualification and a career path which can form part of a national training programme for school principals.
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