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«by SILVIA GONAONE MAKGONE submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of MAGISTER TECHNOLOGIAE in the subject HUMAN RESOURCE ...»

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submitted in accordance with the requirements for

the degree of


in the subject


at the




November 2012 i Declaration I, Silvia Gonaone Makgone, do hereby declare that the work presented in this document entitled: “An evaluation of strategic leadership in selected schools and its contribution to academic performance” is my own work and independent research making use of different literature. I also declare that this thesis has not been submitted for degree purposes to any University or academic institution.

------------------------------------- ---------------------Ms. Makgone Silvia Gonaone Date ii Acknowledgements Firstly, I would like to thank the Almighty for giving me strength and courage throughout the writing of this dissertation.

My extreme gratitude and appreciation goes to:

• Dr Badenhorst, my supervisor, for his support and guidance through this process.

• Dr Niek Coetzee, my co-supervisor for his guidance and encouragement during the hard times.

• The role played by the different schools’ inspectors, principals and teachers is very much appreciated.

• Mr Makgone V.L., my husband and my two daughters, Oa-Arabela Gaolekwe Makgone and Dilopeng Dineo Makgone for their contribution, motivation and understanding of my absenteeism due to the project.

• My brother, Alfons, W. Mosimane and my sister Immaculate, D. Mogotsi for their enormous contribution and support.

• All relatives and friends who assisted in one way or another during the process of writing my dissertation.

iii Abstract The Cambridge education system introduced after independence is mainly blamed for the high failure rate experienced in the Junior Secondary (Grade 10) and Senior Secondary (Grade 12) phases in Namibia. Although it is acknowledged that failure rate can be contributed to by many factors, the research wanted to establish whether the principal’s leadership can have any contribution to the academic achievement in a school.

The researcher consulted different literature in an attempt to achieve the research objectives. The principal carries out a number of leadership job functions, hence, an instrument with the relevant job functions of a principal was selected to collect data.

Three poorly performing schools were identified in the Omaheke Region. The research used questionnaires among teachers, inspectors and principals to collect data. The analysis shows that two principals were rated low in most leadership job functions. That implies that these principals are not engaged in instructional leadership, resulting in poor academic results. At the end recommendations and proposals for future research are highlighted.

Key terms:

Strategy; Strategic leadership; Strategic conversation; Instructional leadership; goal setting; Effective teaching; Job functions; Leadership behaviors; Academic performance; Strategic focused school

–  –  –





1.1 Introduction

1.2 Background

1.3 Problem statement

1.4 Research questions and null hypothesis

1.5 Aims and goals of the research

1.6 Value of the study

1.7 Research Design and Methodology

1.8 The structure of the thesis

1.9 Conclusion


2.1 Introduction

2.2 Strategic Leadership

2.1.1 Strategy

2.1.2 Strategic leadership

2.1.3 Characteristics of Strategic Leaders

2.1.4 Strategically focused school

2.3 Organisational performance versus effective leadership

2.4 Contribution of school leadership to academic performance

2.5 Leadership styles

2.5.1 Transformational leadership style

2.5.2 Instructional leadership style

2.5.3 The impact of Transformational and Instructional leadership on student performance

2.6 Behaviour patterns of effective principals


2.7 Roles and responsibilities of a principal in a Namibian school

2.8 Alignment between the problem statement and the literature review

2.9 Conclusion


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Hypothesis

3.3 Research Design

3.4 The research instrument

3.5 Sampling method

3.6 Data collection

3.7 Data capturing

3.8 Data analysis

3.9 Shortcomings and sources of error

3.10 Ethical considerations

3.11 Conclusion


4.1 Introduction

4.2 Sample profiles

4.3 Presentation of results

4.3.1 Results: Teacher’s questionnaire Part A

4.3.2 Results: Teachers’ questionnaire Part B

4.3.3 Results: Inspectors’ questionnaire

4.3.4 Results across three schools

4.3.5 Results: Principals’ questionnaire

4.4 Discussion of results by hypothesis

4.5 Thematic analysis

4.6 Conclusion


5.1 Introduction

5.2 Discussion of salient points

5.3 Interpretation of results in terms of literature


5.4 Discussion of gaps

5.5 Significance of the results

5.6 Policy and other Recommendations

5.7 Future research

5.8 Conclusion





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1.1 Introduction Namibia, after independence was faced with a lot of challenges, one of which was the reform of the Education sector. According to Mushaandja (1996:7) the new education authorities inherited not one, but eleven different education systems of the former “homeland administrations.” Amalgamating these education systems has not been an easy task particularly because of resistance to educational innovations.

One of these innovations was the introduction of the Cambridge system into all schools as the old system was seen as just promoting memorisation and not preparing the learners for the job market.

The new system had its pros and cons and it is still attacked with hostility in some circles of society due to the failure rate experienced in the Grade 10 and 12 phases.

The learners who failed these Grades are not allowed to repeat and this gave rise to a lot of questions as most of the children were left on street. Already, in 1995, the Minister of Education noted with concern that the quality of education was still compromised, Glogg and Fidler (as cited by Mushaandja, 1996:7) consider examination results as performance indicators for quality of education.

Although many efforts were made to improve the quality of education in Namibia, the high failure rate persists in the Secondary Education Phase. This became a matter of concern to all stakeholders and Haingura, the Secretary General, of the Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU) mentioned that “One can conclude that the current education system produces approximately 40 000 drop outs” (Philander, 2007:5).

The NANTU Secretary General in 2009, after the release of Grade 10 results, said the following: “the number of candidates who do not qualify for Grade 11 is above 50 per cent and this is not acceptable. It is not normal for a country to sustain an education system that sends an average 15 000 learners to the streets year in and year out, as it might be detrimental to the national development in the long run” Maletsky (2009:3).

This statement and others show the concern that exists about performance of the education system.

1.2 Background

The Namibian nation, has each year end, an outcry on the high failure rate experienced by the Grade 10 students. During 2007 only 15 330 (48%) grade 10’s who sat for the examination qualified to proceed to Grade 11. This left around 16 630 Grade 10 learners on the streets and with an uncertain future. This scenario becomes worse at the Senior Secondary level.

The outcome of the results of 2007 published in New Era, 29 January 2008 is testimony to this as stated in that article that “Of the 31 243 candidates who sat for the Namibia Senior Certificate ordinary level examinations, only 3 256 candidates gained university admission” (Philander, 2008:2). This is a cause for concern which leaves the whole nation with unanswered questions.

According to Auala (1999:35) excellence in education will remain a dream in the absence of effective leadership. Maxwell (1998) concurs that everything rises and falls on leadership. These statements show that the attainment of success or good performance in schools depends on the type of leadership practised in schools.

Schools should be seen as organisations where constant change takes place and leadership is the one critical area that should maintain sustainable growth and profitability. The effective leadership of a school will show in the high performance of both teachers and learners. Arnott and Soobiah (2007:12) posit that if becoming a high performing organisation is the destination, leadership is the engine. Sondhi (2006:21) agrees with this statement when he writes that “whichever way you look at it, strong leadership will always be a prerequisite for the creation and maintenance of a successful team”.

It is because of the above-mentioned that the researcher sees the evaluation of the strategic leadership as vital in trying to find answers to the poor performance of learners in the identified Omaheke schools and also to find whether leadership in our schools is strategically aligned, to prove Nel’s (2007:10) statement that leadership has a dramatic effect on the performance of an organisation.

1.3 Problem statement The Omaheke Region is experiencing poor performance (results) in the Junior Secondary and the Senior Secondary phases and this has become a concern to all stakeholders in the region.

The chairperson of the Omaheke Regional Education Forum, Festus Uietele, expressed his dissatisfaction with the performance of some schools in the region. He called on all stakeholders to redouble their efforts and turn the situation around. Ueitele said it is unacceptable that at some schools 91 percent of the learners are not promoted and yet teachers and principals are receiving their monthly salaries but have not been requested to account for the high failure rate (Maletsky, 2009:2).

Rhodes, Marentette, and Trexler (1984:16) indicates that:

“Important differences exist among incompetent, competent, and excellent schools and their leaders. Schools managed by incompetent leaders simply don’t get the job done. Typically, such schools are characterized by confusion and inefficiency in operation and malaise in human climate. Student achievement is lower in such schools. Teachers may not be giving a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay”.

This suggests that this phenomenon of poor performance can be caused by many factors, but the researcher wants to concentrate on the effect of the principal’s leadership on this problem, as reflected in literature that the phenomenon of leadership is a contributing factor to the school performance.

–  –  –

Table 1.1 depicts the National Grade 10 examination results of 2008 and the ranking of the regions based on the performance.

To proceed to Grade 11 a candidate is expected to score 23 points and at least an F in English. Score values at Grade 10 are as follows: A=7; B=6; C=5; D=4; E=3; F=2;

G=1. Six best subjects are scored in order to determine the total value of a candidate.

Column 3 shows the percentage of candidates who qualified for Grade 11 in the 2008 examination by obtaining 23 points and F or better in English. Column 4 and 5 show the percentage of candidates who obtained 24 and 27 points in the 2008 examination respectively (this part is only for comparison purposes).

Columns 6 and 7 show the ranking of the regions in terms of examination performance in 2007 and 2008. As depicted by Table 1.1, Omaheke Region occupied the last position (13) out of the 13 Regions with regard to results of the two respective years of 2007 and 2008. Table 1.2 clearly shows the ranking (regarding performance in examination) of schools in the Omaheke Region nationally and regionally.

–  –  –

Table 1.2 shows the total number and percentage of learners promoted and not promoted to grade 11.

The table also shows how many positions the school picked up or dropped, nationally and regionally compared to the results of 2007, (+) signifies picking up, while, (–) signifies dropping in position. It is also important to mention that the last school in performance nationally is from Omaheke region which is Epukiro Post 3 Junior Secondary School.

The results show that out of the 779 learners that sat for the Grade 10 examinations, only 280(36%) learners were promoted to Grade 11, while 499 learners were unable to proceed to the next grade and therefore were destined for the streets.

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