The role of school leaders in influencing the implementation of the IQMS: tasks, opportunities and contraints: a case study of two Gauteng schools

Keshav, Bhavika
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The study investigates how school leaders - understood as principals in this study – influence the implementation of the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) and the tasks, opportunities and constraints facing the IQMS school leaders at implementation level. The IQMS is a quality performance management system used to evaluate teachers. The South African education aims at producing skilled and educated learners who can contribute to the global and SA’s labour market. Too often, the limelight has been placed on teachers to produce high learner achievement. This made teachers account to the community, parents, learners and the department of education as a large amount has been invested in education. Hence, the IQMS was introduced to enhance the quality of teaching and learning. School leaders are seen as a vehicle to steer and influence the implementation of the IQMS; however, they are faced with many challenges and have to strategize ways to ensure that the IQMS is productively implemented at their schools. This research was conducted using a qualitative methodology. It is based on a case study of two ex-model C primary schools in one Gauteng district, sampled on a purposive basis. Data was collected through interviews, questionnaires and document analyses. The interviews were administered to elicit responses from principals, deputy principal (DP), head of departments (HoD), teachers and institutional development support officers (IDSO). Questionnaires were given to three teachers from each school, based on their number of years of experience. What emerged from this study was that most respondents were not satisfied with the IQMS as a teacher appraisal as they felt that there were many flaws in its content. One of the major concerns revolved around the IQMS combination of the development appraisal (DA) and performance management (PM). Respondents argued that one instrument cannot be used for two purposes as the main objective of the IQMS was then lost. However, the findings - and the literature consulted – also indicate that the school leader plays a vital role in the implementation of the IQMS. In order for teachers to take ownership of the IQMS policy, leaders need to make sense of the policy and then motivate their staff to take ownership of the policy to contribute to its implementation. This is best achieved through a leader who is open-minded, works collaboratively with the staff and allows the staff to be involved in participative decision-making and effective policy planning. In addition, the leader needs to act as a role model on professional development (PD) and monitoring for development, by motivating and providing opportunities for staff to improve their competence. The recommendation of this study is for a properly functioning quality management policy that provides, above all, meaningful teachers’ professional development and relies on school leaders with a pro-active mediating role at the implementation stage.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Education Date submitted: September 2012 School of Education Faculty of Humanities University of Witwatersrand