In search of best practice in South African desegregated schools

TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.Nkomo, S.Vandeyar
DEPARTMENT: Equitable Education and Economies (IED)
Web link:
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 5339
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/5347

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One of the daunting challenges facing South Africa in the contemporary period is that of achieving social cohesion. Educational institutions should be at the cutting edge of the project to weave a common identity whilst promoting respect for difference. It was this challenge that motivated us to convene colloquia in 2003 and 2006 to discuss the current state of school desegregation and innovative ways to forge ahead in the complex processes of dismantling the legacies of the past and creating inclusive paradigms for our classrooms. This monograph represents an attempt to record what could be regarded as nascent events in a few schools that have the potential to grow into models of best practice in managing diversity. These fledgling efforts always coexist with powerful contrary traditions that may retard their fruition, and to witness their growth in slow motion is both enlightening and instructive. A small survey of stakeholders' perceptions about what constitutes 'best practice' in a desegregated school environment, supported by classroom observation, interviews and focus groups form the basis for this analysis of emergent patterns in the practices which foster healthy identities in our learners, both as individuals and as members of South African society. Concise and written in an accessible style, the study is important reading for educationists at every level, policymakers and all involved in teacher education.