The causes of ethical turpitude in schools: Evidence from four schools in Gauteng, South Africa

  • Siphiwe Mthiyane University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
  • Sipiwe Mudadigwa University of the Witwatersrand
Keywords: Accountability, Continuous professional teacher development, Ethical school leadership, Ethical turpitude, Integrity

Abstract

 

This article reports the findings of a qualitative study that explored the causes of ethical turpitude in the four schools in Gauteng Province of South Africa. Semi-structured interviews were held with each school principal, eight heads of department and sixteen teachers. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the generated data. The findings suggest that most participants had pedestrian knowledge of ethical leadership and failed to demonstrate an appreciation of their agency role in promoting an ethical culture both in leadership and teaching despite the prescripts of the SACE Code of Professional Ethics and other laws governing their profession. Despite these negative findings, a minority of participants indicated how they promoted an ethical culture, integrity and honesty in their interactions with their learners. Amidst all the ethical challenges at the school level, the findings further suggest that there was minimal support by the Provincial Department of Education, SACE and teacher unions to equip the school management teams and teachers on ethical leadership and teaching. While numerous ethical turpitudes were unearthed, this study posits that the school management teams have agency and direct responsibility to address ethical challenges in their schools. While outside role-players have a supportive role to play, school management teams cannot give up and solely blame them for internal ethical turpitudes.

 

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

References

Bottery, M. (2019). An Ethics of Educational Leadership for Turbulent and Complex Times. In T. Bush, L. Bell & D. Middlewood (Eds.). Principles of Educational Leadership and Management. SAGE Publications, London. Pp.39-55.

Branson, C., & Cross, S. (2014). Handbook of ethical educational leadership. New York: Routledge.

Brock, R., Brundige, E. & Furstenau, D. (2014). Sexual Violence by Educators in South African Schools: Gaps in Accountability Gaps in Accountability. The Centre for Applied Legal Studies and Cornell Law School’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice and International Human Rights Clinic. Cornell University Press. New York.

Brubaker, T. A. (2013). Servant leadership, ubuntu, and leader effectiveness in Rwanda. Emerging Leadership Journeys, 6(1), 114-147.

Chisolm, L. (2012). Corruption in Education. The textbook saga. International comparative perspectives on corruption, 1-14.

Corruption Watch. (2016). Loss of Principle: A Report on Corruption in Schools. Johannesburg.

Cronje, M. (2016, March 9). SouthAfrican schools hotspots for corruption, Mail and Guardian. Retrieved from https://mg.co.za/article/2016-03-09-graft-in-sa-schools-tops-corruption-reports

Dan, R., & Deidre, J. D. (2012). Ethical leadership: Tackling bullying of staff in schools. Paper presented at the Annual Values Leader Conference, Pretoria.

Davids, N. (2016). Deliberation, belonging and inclusion: Towards ethical teaching in a democratic South Africa. Journal of Ethics and Education, 1(13), 274-285.

Davids, N. & Waghid, Y. (2016). Responding To Violence In Postapartheid Schools: On School Leadership As Mutual Engagement. Education as Change. 20 (1), 28–42. https://doi.org/10.17159/1947-9417/2016/557

Drumwright, M., Prentice, R., & Biasucci, C. (2015). Behavioural ethics and teaching ethical decision making. Decision sciences Journal of innovative education, 13(3), 431-458. https://doi.org/10.1111/dsji.12071

du Plessis, P. (2014). Corruption in Education - Stealing the future. Mediterrenean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(23), 1308 - 1316. https://doi.org/10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n23p1308

Ehrich, L. C., Harris, J., Klenowski, V., Smeed, J., & Spina, N. (2015). The centrality of ethical leadership. Journal of Educational Administration, 53(2), 197-214. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-10-2013-0110

Eisenbeiss, S. A. (2012). Re-thinking Ethical Leadership: An interdisciplinary intergrative approach. The Leadership Quarterly, 23(5), 791-808. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2012.03.001

Fanta, H., & Makewa, L. N. (2014). Teacher ethical principles and practice in Seventh-day Adventist secondary schools in same District of Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development, 3(1), 98-116.

George, B. (2017). Unethical Practices and Management Option in Mission Schools as Perceived by Teachers in Delta State. Global Journal of Management And Business Research, 17(4A).

Grigoropoulos, J. E. (2019). The Role of Ethics in 21st Century Organisations. International Journal of Progressive Education. 15(2), 167-175. https://doi.org/10.29329/ijpe.2019.189.12

Hall, R. D. & Rowland, C. A. (2016). Leadership development for managers in turbulent times. Journal of Management Development, 35 (8), 942-955.

Hesse-Biber, N. S., & Leavey, P. (2011). The Practice of Qualitative Research. Los- Angeles: SAGE.

Mangena, F. (2012). Towards a hunhu/ubuntu dialogical moral theory. Phronimon, 13(2), 1-17.

Msila, V. (2015). Conflict Management and School Leadership. Journal of Communication, 3(1), 25-34. https://doi.org/10.1080/0976691X.2012.11884792

Ncontsa, V. N., & Shumba, A. (2013). The nature, causes and effects of school violence in South African high schools. SA Journal of Education, 33(3), 1-15. http://www.scielo.org.za/pdf/saje/v33n3/13.pdf

Nzimakwe, T. I. (2014). Practising Ubuntu and leadership for good governance the South Africa and continental dialogue. African Journal of Public Affairs, 7(4), 30-41. http://hdl.handle.net/2263/58143

Osuji,U.S.A.(2020).Trends of Examination Malpractices and the Roles of Examination Bodies in Nigeria. Available https://www.researchgate.net/publication/345431346

Özan, B. M., Özdemir, Y. T. & Yirci, R. (2017). Ethical Leadership Behaviours of School Administrators from Teachers’ Point of View. Foro de Educación, 15(23), 161-184. http://dx.doi.org/10.14516/fde.520

Rangongo, P., Mohlakwana, M., & Beckman, J. (2016). Causes of financial mismanagement in South African public schools: The views of role players. South African Journal for education, 36(3).

Republic of South Africa, R. S. A. (2000a). South African Council for Educators (Act. No. 31) Government Gazette 21431. Pretoria: Government Printers.

Republic of South Africa, R. S. A. (2000b). South African Council for Educators. Code for Professional Ethics. Pretoria: Government Printers.

Republic of South Africa, R. S. A. (2011a). Employment of Educators Act No. 76 of 1998. Pretoria: Government Printers.

Republic of South Africa, R. S. A. (2011b). Redefining the Role and Functions of South African Council for Educators. Pretoria: Government Printers.

Singh, P., & Twalo, T. (2015). Mismanaging unethical behaviour in the workplace. Journal of Applied Business Research (JABR), 31(12), 515-530. https://doi.org/10.19030/jabr.v31i2.9150

Tyler, C. ( 2014 ). Today’s Challenges and dilemmas for ethical school leaders. Bangkok: E-Leader.

Published
2021-05-04
How to Cite
Mthiyane, S., & Mudadigwa, S. (2021). The causes of ethical turpitude in schools: Evidence from four schools in Gauteng, South Africa. Interdisciplinary Journal of Education Research , 3(2), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.51986/ijer-2021.vol3.02.01