CHAPTER ONE OVERVIEW AND RATIONALE
The focus of this investigation is to explore the concept of change management in schools of the Kavango region in Namibia. Namibia is currently undergoing a dramatic reform of its overall national development plan. This plan aims for the realisation of the vision 2030; which is for Namibia to be part of a knowledge-based society. In order to realise the Vision 2030, every sector of society is expected make its respective contribution. To achieve this vision, the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme [ETSIP] was developed to spearhead the effort toward realising the vision. The ETSIP initiative mandates school principals to implement and/or manage the reform towards attaining its objectives. Both Vision 2030 and ETSIP require drastic changes in the education sector which necessitates a heightened awareness of what changes need to be implemented and how to go about implementing such changes. It is with this in mind, that this research was conducted to explore issues encountered during a change process and how such issues affect the teaching and learning environment.
In this chapter there is a brief overview of the research study and the context and rationale are highlighted. There is further discussion about the research goal, questions and orientation, as well as the research methods. This is followed by the structure of the dissertation as outlined below (cf. 1.6). The definitions of terms, the acronyms and limitations of the study are also presented in this chapter. The synopsis of the chapters contains the problem statement which is divided into facets reflecting the various aspects to be dealt with in each of the chapters.
According to Hermann and Hermann (1994:2), “an educational leader must lead the change and not merely be subject to it” thus confirming the common argument that effective change process needs to be managed properly. In this context, principals, as
agents for change, are expected to initiate, facilitate and implement transformation. Many researchers including (Danielson 2008:16; Hallinger 2003:43; Kitavi 2006:97) state that the most effective way to change any organisation involves putting the focus on people. In fact, it is argued that organisations do not change just the individuals within, but also change the institution as a whole (Burnes 2000:22). In other words, without a good understanding of what goes on in the school environment, principals or school administrators would not be able to identify what works well, what is ineffective and how to move from the current state to the desired state. All these require engagement of the management process, which if overlooked when implementing change, might inadvertently lead to the demise of the change process (Pfau 2002:12).
A brief overview of Namibia's efforts to manage change within the education sector and problems that are being encountered during the change process is provided in the next few sections. For example, it has been noted that principals in the Kavango Education Region manage their schools by imitating management styles of their predecessors and role models (Kantema 2001:45). In many schools, changes are made haphazardly and are usually not welcomed by the majority of the staff. The principal is the central figure around which much of the school's activities revolve and this determines to a great extent the school's successes and failures when change is implemented.
To be effective as leaders in such an environment, school principals must realise what is expected of them and step up to that role. The shared values of the staff should be promoted and protected by respected principals. The findings of a study by Kandumbu (2005) revealed that in the Kavango region, poor management and lack of strategic vision are factors that contribute to failure to change (Kandumbu 2005:110). Change management involves understanding the level of reform that might affect the staff members and knowing how to develop strategies and action plans proactively to manage the impact of that improvement or development.
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