Continuing the journey towards empowerment

Posted on October 13, 2015

At the start of the second half of the Leadership Development Programme for School Principals, which is currently being presented at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria by Continuing Education at the University of Pretoria (CE at UP), Prof Ann-Louise de Boer, the course leader, said that the programme was ‘doing very well’ and that a lot was being learned.

A total of 13 school principals from the Tshwane South District are currently attending this exclusive training and development opportunity for the improvement of their schools and, ultimately, their communities at large.

‘Everybody in South Africa has a responsibility towards education, and this is a wonderful opportunity to speak to the leaders of the schools. If there is any change to be made, it has to start with the leaders,’ Prof de Boer said.

The delegates participating in the programme are empowered with skills which they will apply to become better leaders and to assist in the process of implementing the actions that will be required to ensure that they achieve their set goals and objectives.

Ms Martha Raholane, principal of the Laezonia Primary Farm School, said that she had initially expected the programme to provide her with a ’quick-fix’ solution, but found that there was a lot more she could take from it. ’I realised I had to learn more so that I would be able to fix the problems. I work with many people and so far I have learned that since we are different as human beings, I have to come up with different strategies for solving problems.’ She added that the programme is helping her to devise long-term solutions. ‘Although it takes time, the solution will be permanent – not just the quick fix I was expecting.’

Mr Isaac Mahlaole, principal of Makgwaraneng Primary School, who has been working in the education sector for more than 20 years, said, ’I came here to be “sharpened”; new things are coming up and it is important to learn them or else you will be left behind, or forced to get out of the system.’ He also spoke about the importance of the programme and the skills they have been taught, which will help him to ‘keep up with the times’. ‘We are running schools,’ he said, ‘and it is a very dynamic [environment]. It is important for us to be well equipped to work with diversity and to manage people, which is a serious challenge. If we know what to do, we can get better results and help the learners to pass.’

With four more programme modules still to be completed, both Ms Raholane and Mr Mahlaole expect to learn much more.

‘We have many systems that we can use to solve our problems. Once we have completed the remaining modules we ought to know how to implement those systems and obtain the desired results,’ Ms Raholane added.

Mr Mahlaole regards the ability to work with parents as a particularly valuable skill. ’Our major stakeholders are parents, so if we can learn more about encouraging and managing parent involvement it will be very useful. If we are trained in how to work with them and get them involved, and convince them that they are the right people to help us improve the school, it would help us a lot.’


The Leadership Development Programme for School Principals is a dedicated, full-day programme that runs over eight scheduled days during the year and is presented until the end of October by CE at UP. For more information on the programme, click here. To become involved in collaboration and/or sponsorship opportunities, email [email protected].


- Author CE at UP

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