(In)tolerance of Diversity and School Governance: Perceptions and Experiences of Parents in Soweto Secondary Schools

Patrick Mafora


A qualitative multi case study on shared decision-making in School Governing Bodies (SGBs) was conducted in five secondary schools in Soweto, South Africa. This article is restricted to the research question: how do parent members of the SGB perceive and experience respect and tolerance of diversity within the SGB. Data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured individual and group interviews. Tesch’s steps for open coding were followed for data analysis. Findings indicate that parents perceive and experience SGBs as discriminative, divisive, and intolerant of their “otherness”. Dimensions of diversity, notably socio-economic background and opinions-held, are used as the basis for suppression and marginalisation. The article argues for the introduction of school-level policies and relevant capacity building initiatives on democracy and social justice issues, as a means of improving the situation.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n4p101

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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