THE INFLUENCE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS ACT (1996) ON DISCIPLINE IN INTERMEDIATE SCHOOLS IN THE NAMAQUA DISTRICT OF THE NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCE

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CHAPTER 1


ORIENTATION


_ INTRODUCTION


Democratization in South Africa since the end of the last decade has involved all areas and institutions in society. Education is one of the most important areas in which change takes place. The education situation in South Africa can serve as an example of a change that is so radical that it can be equated with a paradigm shift (Department of Education 2000: 44). According to Odendal, Schoonees, Swanepoel, Du Toit and Booysen (1991: 820), a paradigm refers to a pattern or basic way of thinking that has a profound influence on human thinking and actions. This means that the paradigm shift not only affects the education situation, but changes profoundly with regard to a new democratic education policy. The amended education system results in the implementation of new policies and programs and this has established a different school and classroom practice. A new policy on discipline has been formulated which also results in a radical change in the approach to and handling of matters of practice.

The new policy and implementation of discipline in the classroom is causing problems for all stakeholders, ie educators, parents and learners. The condition created forms the background against which the researcher's interest in this study was piqued.

In the present study of limited scope, Barnhart and Thorndike (1977: 262) agree that discipline is described as a situation in which order and obedience are exercised. In the school setting this means that if a learner obeys the class or school rules, order exists in the class or school. This means that good discipline prevails in the school and that learners do not misbehave. Against this background, attention is only briefly given to the situation before the new policy came into b