Identifying sensitive issues in education in Limpopo province, South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    Researchers in the social sciences generally encounter problems in getting information when dealing with topics that are regarded as sensitive in school management. Principals regard certain issues as sensitive, and find it difficult to discuss them with researchers. We report on an inves tigation into such sensitive issues in Limpopo province, South Africa, as well as the reasons why principals regard them as sensitive. Interviews with 12 individual principals were conducted to gain an understanding of issues that they regard as sensitive. A 33 item self report questionnaire was administered to 180 principals drawn from 272 secondary schools. Results reveal a range of issues regarded as sensitive to report on that pervade the management of schools. Principals have re ported on the various reasons why they regard each of the aspects as sensitive, thereby making it difficult for them to provide the required information. Analysis of the different sensitive issues shows that certain biographical characteristics are significant mediators in principals’ perceptions of sensitive issues in school management. When researchers wish to elicit information on the issues identified in this study, they should consider methodological issues that may influence the in vestigation so that understanding and giving voice and visibility is not jeopardized.