Women School Principals in KZN Face Increasing Challenges Because of their Gender – Research Finding
KwaZulu-Natal school principals who are women are often challenged because of their gender.
This is according to research conducted by Mr Sihle Ngidi, who graduated with a Bachelor of Education Honours degree cum laude .
Ngidi is the first in his family to enrol and graduate from university.
‘I come from a poor background, raised by grandparents who were unemployed,’ he said. ‘We relied on their pension to survive and there were many of us. On certain days, we would go to sleep with empty stomachs - this is what motivated me to study hard and beat poverty.’
‘No-one believed I could be a university student, let alone get a postgraduate degree with flying colours. I struggled a lot during my undergraduate years and at one point, I was convinced I would never finish. However, here I am today…graduating,’ said Ngidi.
His research examined leadership that works in a deprived school context with a primary focus on principals. ‘I chose this research topic as there is very little that is known about the subject and if more research can be done on this, there is a possibility of getting some solutions to problems engulfing our education system.’
His research findings show that women who are principals faced increased challenges because of their gender. ‘This has to do with culture and a refusal of some males to accept them as their leaders. However, women principals seem to have a better chance of being effective principals because of their nurturing and caring personalities.
‘Resources are important for the effectiveness of the school but so is leadership. Principals who succeed in a deprived context go beyond the call of duty in their leadership,’ said Ngidi.
Ngidi believes his research will assist school principals to improve their practice. ‘It is particularly useful for principals who are leading in contexts laden with deprivations and challenges. It can also be useful to the Department of Education in the process of recruiting principals suitable for deprived schools.’
Ngidi thanked his family and friends. ‘I thank them for the emotional support and for allowing me to be away from them most of the time. I [would] also like to thank my supervisor, Dr Phumlani Myende, for his special motivation and support - without him I would have given up a long time ago.’
‘This is not the end, it is just the beginning. I am currently reading for my Masters in Education and then I hope to enrol for a PhD. My dream is to become a lecturer at UKZN. I am also looking forward to being a publishing scholar who writes books that will assist in bettering our education.’