n South African Journal of Education - Reflecting on principals as managers or moulded leaders in a managerialistic school system

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



I contend that South African school leaders perform their functions within a managerialistic school system that focuses strongly on prescribed standards, quality, and outcomes. The aim is to draw attention to the conceptual contradiction inherent in the labelling of the school principal as a leader rather than as a manager. In practice, school principals are expected to perform within a framework of control systems and performitivity, which are the core features of managerialism. The argument will be that the functions performed by school principals are essentially managerial rather than being true leadership functions, in spite of the practice of labelling principals as leaders. In consequence, the expected managerialistic performance of principals inevitably has specific implications for the training of educational leaders. The training is therefore characterised as leadership moulding rather than leadership training.

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