n Journal of Educational Studies - Dimmed voices of learners in democratic school governance : a threat to education for sustainable development

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1680-7456



Sustainable development and its educational approach, education for sustainable development, assumes the participation and involvement of all stakeholders in every aspect of education. With the dawn of democracy in South Africa, the concomitant expectation was that the ideals of the freedom struggle would be realised. One such an ideal was the participation of all stakeholders in governance at all levels. In this paper we explore the involvement of learners in democratic school governance. We argue that while the policy framework for learner participation in school governance was created and is being implemented, the actual realisation of democratic participation is strained. We adopted an interpretive stance to understand the realities related to learners serving on school governing bodies through the meanings that role-players assign to them. We found that neither the adult members, nor the learner members, perceive the learners to be equal partners on the school governing bodies; as such their voices in democratic school governance are muted and the ideals of education for sustainable development threatened.

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