n Education as Change - The impact of the social capital on the schools' general success

Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1682-3206
  • E-ISSN: 1947-9417
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It is a critical commonplace that many schools in developing countries are failing for a number of reasons. Lack of physical and human resources are some of the cited problems in historically disadvantaged schools in South Africa. Social scientists such as Coleman, Dasguta and Bourdieu have investigated the concept of social capital and its propinquity to efficiency and progress of various societal institutions. Among other things, social capital in education refers to the building of social networks and the involvement of communities in educational institutions. When we talk of social capital in schools, we are more interested in the manner in which communities can influence schools. The article looks at whether social capital is a public good and how other societal factors shape it. Studies by Fukuyama (1995) and Putnam (1993) have argued that trust or social capital determines the performance of institutions in the society. Many studies have also shown that community involvement in education is crucial in determining the quality and performance of schools. Many schools fail because their governing bodies do not receive sufficient support from the communities that comprise their parent bodies. The outcomes based education (OBE) system introduced in South Africa in 1998 supports education where there is much community involvement, as this has a potential of ensuring that the curriculum is relevant to the needs of the community. In this study, I looked at the effects of social capital on schools. This was explored as the effects of community involvement were investigated. It was found that while social and financial capital cannot guarantee a school's success, those schools with the highest levels of social capital enjoy the support needed by teachers in schools. This leads to more commitment from the learners and the teaching personnel. Those schools which lacked social and financial capital are more likely to report frequent learner misbehaviour and lower levels of quality than schools with high levels of social capital. Furthermore, the study also found that while financial support helps to raise the quality of education in schools, finances are not the only determinants of high performance and quality.

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