Does the Voice of the Learners Matter Under the Democratic Dispensation? The Trivialisation of the Learners’ Voice in School Governance in the Rural Schools of Stutterheim, Eastern Cape

Nokuzola Gqeba


The ushering in of a democratic dispensation in South Africa in 1994 brought about significant changes within the education landscape. The South African Schools (SASA) Act of 1996 gave recognition and a voice to learners through formal representation in school governance. The article investigates whether learners’ voice finds expression in school governance. The researcher adopted a qualitative research method where a phenomenological research was used. The phenomenological research was used in order to study experiences of stakeholders within the school environment in order to gain an insight on the participation of learners in school governance. Data was collected through conducting semi-structured research interviews. The sampled participants of the research were members of the school governing body, teachers and learners at the school and parents in the immediate vicinity of the school. The sample of the study involved ten parents, six teachers and ten learners and eleven members of the governing body. Data was analysed using coding where themes were developed and analysed to make meaning of the data. The study found that even though the Representative Council of Learners (RCL) was elected, it was never taken seriously by school management. The study also found that even though there were learners elected to the school governing body, their participation was of no significance. The study recommends empowerment of the learners so that they understand their role in governance.

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International Research in Higher Education  ISSN 2380-9183 (Print)  ISSN 2380-9205 (Online)

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