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Towards a l eadershi p model f or t he
ef f ect i ve management of Furt her
Educat i on and Trai ni ng col l eges
Mj s Mohl okoane & Ia Coet zer
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To ci t e t hi s art i cl e: Mj s Mohl okoane & Ia Coet zer ( 2007) : Towar ds a l eader shi p model f or t he
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Towards a leadership model for the
effective management of Further
Education and Training colleges
MJS Mohlokoane
South African Management Development
Institute, South Africa
Stephenm@samdi.gov.za
IA Coetzer
School of Education, University of South Africa,
South Africa
adamsja@unisa.ac.za
Abstract
This article focuses on the need for a leadership model for the effective management of Further
Education and Training (FET) colleges in the Gauteng Province. The research was motivated by
the call for sound leadership in FET colleges that are grappling with the challenges of merging.
A literature study showed that the study of leadership is interdisciplinary, covering a vast terrain,
which encompasses the political, corporate, educational and human service domains. In 1994 the
South African government inherited a fragmented, segregated and bureaucratic education system
providing poor quality education. The necessary reform of the FET sector has placed enormous
pressure on FET college leadership. A qualitative approach was used for this study to provide
explanations for a need for effective leadership models for FET colleges. A case study of a newly
merged college was chosen by purposeful sampling, and data collected by means of document
analysis, individual interviews and observation. The research concludes with recommendations
and a proposed leadership model for effective management of FET colleges.
Key words: Leadership model, effective management, strategies, partnerships, shared vision,
transformation.
Introduction
A new institutional landscape for Further Education and Training (FET) colleges
represents a signifcant and a decisive break from the old system of technical/vocational
education and training in South Africa and ushers in a new FET college landscape that
ISSN: Print1814-6627/Online 1753-5921 Africa Education Review 4 (1) 2007 pp. 1527
Unisa Press
DOI: 10.1080/18146620701412118
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M. J. S. Mohlokoane and I. A. Coetzer
can respond to the human resource development needs of the country (DoE, 2001:1).
Kraak (1999:5) asserts that the pressures of change in the South African FET sector
are dual: change arises out of socio-political demands related to redressing the ills of
apartheid in education and the construction of democratic social relationships among
the state, civil society and education and training institutions. Change is also required
because of socio-economic pressures linked to globalisation and South Africas re-entry
into a highly competitive and volatile world economy.
Transforming the FET sector to meet present and future challenges is not easy. It
entails changing public perceptions and attitudes regarding the FET band. It requires
rethinking and reinterpreting the dominant positions currently occupied by both the
General Education and Training (GET) and Higher Education and Training (HET) bands
in the political sphere of educational reconstruction. Expertise, resources and funds need
to be redirected to the FET sector (DoE, 1998:5). According to a report of the Centre for
Higher Education Transformation, CHET (1997:13), the development of leadership and
management capacity is a priority if the FET sector is to make the necessary national
contribution. Charlton (1993:xi) contends that the need for leadership has never been
so great.
Background to the study
At the core of streamlining the FET sector is the dire need to make it suitable for
the countrys human resources development strategy requirements. The provision of
FET skills and competencies is not the responsibility of the state alone, but a joint
venture of the state, business sector and individual learners to acquire the skills needed
for economic and social stability. One of the most important objectives of the new
FET policy framework is to make FET institutions (such as technical colleges) more
responsive to industry and the local community. However, Kraak and Hall (1999:145)
found that in relation to responsiveness to industry, few colleges have developed formal
information gathering techniques to enable them to gauge market demand for their
training programmes. The increased size and complexity of FET colleges in the new
landscape necessitate a degree of authority to enable them to function responsively
and responsibly to meet the needs of the countrys Human Resources Development
(HRD) strategy. Strong, visionary leadership, as well as trained and effective staff
are required to lead, manage and sustain these colleges. This increased institutional
authority will require better-qualifed, sophisticated and capable leaders and managers
(DoE, 2001:17).
According to the report A New Institutional Landscape for Public Further Education
and Training Colleges published by the Department of Education (DoE, 2001:16), college
leaders and managers, in particular, need to display an increasingly sophisticated grasp
of the development challenges and economic opportunities presented by the changing
local and international environment, and translate them into effective management
strategies and operations. The report further points out that the new landscape should
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Towards a leadership model for the effective management of Further Eucation . . .
be recognisable by a number of attributes that will distinguish it from the old system.
Among these will be (DoE, 2001:16):
Large, multi-site FET colleges
Greater authority for colleges
A Quality Assurance Framework
Specialised niche and multi-purpose colleges
Open and distance learning
Articulation and collaboration with Higher Education, and
Student support services.
Some colleges in South Africa have modern, well-equipped buildings and workshops
well suited to the new vision for FET colleges; other colleges have inadequate facilities
and staff, and suffer problems of poor quality, ineffciency and ineffectiveness. FET
colleges also lack public recognition and acceptance, in part because of similar problems
of poor quality and ineffciency (DoE, 1998b:22).
Whilst transformational leadership has been used effectively in several countries
in changing styles of leadership, it has only recently been introduced as a leadership
potion in South Africa. It is imperative that all stakeholders of FET are watchful of
the effectiveness of the leadership of FET colleges. Frigon and Jackson (1996:131)
argue that the challenge in all leadership environments today is the transformation from
management duties and prerogatives to leadership. Ramsden (1998:110) points out that
the idea of leadership as transformation, and the leader as an agent of change is as old
as time. When there is a strong need for direction, as in times of crisis, the emotional
appeal and power of leadership that is based on charisma or a godlike gift, is well
known. This study focused on a leadership model and capacity building for management
teams for the effective management of the FET colleges. De Vries (2001:174) maintains
that dysfunctional leadership triggers a number of social defence patterns that detract
from the real work of the organisation. This in turn leads to morale problems among the
organisations employees.
According to Fisher and Koch (1996:7), if colleges and universities are capable
of being decisive in improving economic welfare and enriching the human condition,
then the need for the most suitable leadership model for the effective management
of these institutions is of primary importance. Frain (1993:73) contends that college
management should endorse the belief that while a college has a mission, it cannot
produce cooperation among members unless they have accepted it. Leaders achieve
their vision by challenging, encouraging and enabling coaching and acting as a model for
their leadership team and followers (Frigon and Jackson, 1996:3). Mampuru (1992:46)
maintains that transformational leadership deals with the facilitators effects on the
followers values, self-esteem, trust, their confdence in the facilitator and motivation
to perform above and beyond the call of duty. OLeary (2000:19) points out that
transformational leaders go beyond trying to keep individuals and teams performing at
the status quo. A transformational leader is one who has the power to bring about change

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M. J. S. Mohlokoane and I. A. Coetzer
in team members and the organisation as a whole. Charged with implementing change,
the college leadership must redefne its role. It is a personal challenge for most people,
and a challenge for the institution as a whole (Slowey, 1995:23).
Hoppers, Mokgatle, Maluleke, Zuma, Hlophe, Crouch, Lombard, Lolwana and
Makhene (2000:193) concur that drivers of this innovation and the source of challenge
in responding to new FET policies are notions of integrating education and training,
Outcomes-Based Education (OBE), devolution of power and responsibility to public
FET institutions and the linking of delivery to social and economic development
imperatives.
Therefore, it is necessary to investigate an effective leadership model, strategies,
resources and mechanisms needed if FET colleges are to be fnancially viable and
provide diversifed programmes that offer the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values
South Africans require as individuals, citizens and lifelong learners. The increasing
complexity of educational leadership and the need for creative, divergent and unexpected
solutions to educational situations and problems require a challenging approach to the
feld of education management (Steyn and Kamper, 2001:36). According to the DoE
(2001:17), strong, visionary leadership, as well as trained and effective staff are required
to lead, manage and sustain these colleges. The investigation reported in this article
aimed at creating an awareness of the FET Act of 1998 among all stakeholders of the
FET colleges, and adding value to the interpretation and implementation of the FET Act.
The fndings provide valuable data on the successes or failures of college mergers and
help identify the needs of FET Colleges.
Problem statement
Delivery of quality education and training is reliant on good governance and visionary
leadership. This is not currently in place within FET Colleges. The success of the
implementation of the new FET system and the transition from the old technical colleges
to new FET colleges has to be rooted in the leadership capacities of those entrusted
with the responsibility of managing these colleges. Effective leadership skills and
appropriate leadership styles will ensure a stable and constructive learning environment
on the campuses of the FET colleges. Business as usual is no longer acceptable to
the taxpaying public and the youth at these institutions. The defciencies that have been
noted and that need to be addressed are the shortage of leadership skills and lack of a
leadership model.
The problem does not end there. Currently, there are 50 merged colleges in South
Africa. The college under study is one such merger. According to Shattock (2003:172),
it is inevitable that mergers will be disruptive, will distract key staff, will place the
solution of long-standing issues on a back burner and will delay new initiatives. In
addition, this also results in power struggles and contests over terrain. When the college
is spread over several sites it may increase a sense of alienation between centres and
the academic community. The leadership challenge is that staff should be persuaded
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Towards a leadership model for the effective management of Further Eucation . . .
that the long-term benefts outweigh the short-term discomforts. No college can sustain
success unless it is equipped with a leadership and management style that mirrors its
ambitions and commands the trust of its staff members. The other challenge faced by
college leadership is the merging of college cultures. Harman (2002:108) points out that
cultural confict has proved to be the norm in the post-merger phase of most institutions.
In view of these challenges, the study focused on an effective leadership model for
effective management of FET colleges.
Research questions
The following research questions are addressed in this article:
1. What leadership model would best suit the effective management of the new and
transforming FET colleges?
2. How are strategies, visions and missions of the colleges developed and implement-
ed?
3. What opportunities and challenges do the large and multisited FET colleges present
to the leadership of such colleges?
The research design
The research was limited to one group of three merged colleges as a case study, because
this institution provided the researcher with an opportunity to make an intensive study
of leadership styles through observation and semi-structured interviews. According to
Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000:181), case studies can establish cause and effect,
indeed one of their strengths is that they observe effects in real contexts, recognising
that context is a powerful determinant of both causes and effects. Nisbet and Watts,
as cited by Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000:181), argue that the strength of a case
study is that it provides insight into other similar situations and cases, thereby assisting
in interpretation of other similar cases.
The colleges were selected by means of purposeful sampling since they offered a
diverse mixture of management and leadership styles. The assumption was that the
leadership issues investigated at the three colleges could be identifed in most FET colleges
and the fnding could be related to similar colleges sharing the same organisational
culture and climate. This case study is a merger of Soshanguwe, Mamelodi and Pretoria
FET colleges. These colleges also share the same broadly defned local labour market
and geographical location. The composition of this population refects the historical
differentiation of colleges in South Africa, that is, the distinction between former state-
aided (formerly white) and state colleges (formerly black). In the past, the so-called
state colleges lacked autonomy, their councils had only advisory powers, and property
rights were vested in the state. The state also controlled their budgets and prescribed
their fnancial policies. State-aided colleges, on the other hand, had a separate legal
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M. J. S. Mohlokoane and I. A. Coetzer
status, their councils were fully constituted governing bodies with legal capacity and the
right to own property. They controlled their budgets, expenditure and investments.
Data collection and analysis
The research involved the collection and analysis of data obtained by reading,
observation, measurement and asking questions or a combination of these or other
strategies (Blaxter, Hughes & Tight, 2001:153). Data were gathered by means of semi-
structured interviews, document analysis and observation. All interviews were arranged
to suit participants in the privacy of their own offces. Interviews were recorded on
audiotape and transcribed verbatim for more formal analysis. Data analysis took place
during the interview process as well as after the interviews. Finally, extracts from the
raw data were selected as rich data to illustrate the different categories.
Research findings
The fndings from this study are summarised and recommendations are made for the
leadership of colleges at both micro and macro levels. The various aspects of FET college
leadership are reported under the following fve categories: the leadership strategies
and approaches; the development of colleges vision and mission and organisational
structures; the opportunities offered by FET college mergers; the management of
resistance to change; and the recommended leadership model.
The leadership strategies and approaches
The importance of managing change and setting direction in colleges (Rea & Kerzner,
1997:2) was corroborated by this research. There are no simple blueprints for success.
However, by offering refections on strategies that worked, and some that did not work,
it is hoped to contribute to a broader understanding of the nature of the management
of change in the complex college environment. Participants indicated that no single
prescribed leadership style or approach would suit all situations. Several participants
described the leadership situation in South Africa as complicated and one described it
as requiring an approach that is based on transformation of the institution, adoption of
democratic principles and a fatter hierarchy. Another participant aptly summed up this
argument when she stated confdently, The 21
st
century of the globe requires a team
management approach because it brings the dynamics, the capacity and innovation to
the table. A leader is expected to understand the situation and act accordingly. In the
current situation in which FET colleges are operating in South Africa, transformation
is merely a buzzword if leaders do not show commitment to it. Moreover, leadership is
now seen as a plural phenomenon, something that the entire community does together.
An institution characterised by a culture of leadership has features of the learning
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Towards a leadership model for the effective management of Further Eucation . . .
organisation (Senge, 1990). It is an organisation where people from all levels are
continually learning how to learn together. This was reiterated throughout as participants
called for more participation and better communication.
The importance of the vision and mission of an institution
The mission statement defnes the organisations reason for being. It addresses this
question: If we were completely successful, what would we look like. Above all, the
mission statement creates a sense of uniqueness and identity that serves as a platform for
action. Raelin (2003:140) points out that visions are preferably co-created. Minimally,
they arise out of the community in its very work. The leader does not walk away to
create the vision; it is often already present, it just needs articulation. Most participants
in this study were not familiar with the vision and mission of their institution. They
were all aware that a new vision and mission had been recently developed, however,
the involvement of stakeholders in the development of the vision and mission was a
concern. Two participants felt that some stakeholders were left out and argued that the
vision and mission belonged to top management. One participant remarked, The
environment at this college is still hostile and is not conducive to the development of
new visions and missions. The development of vision and mission was also confused
with the development of structures. Some participants were in favour of the development
of structures before a strategy was developed. This corroborates with Senge (1990:206)
who states, Shared vision is vital for the learning organisation because it provides the
focus and energy for learning and that today, vision is a familiar concept in corporate
leadership. But when you look carefully you fnd that most visions were one persons
(or one groups) vision imposed on an organisation. Such visions, at best, command
compliance not commitment. A shared vision is a vision that many people are truly
committed to, because it refects their own personal vision. Developing and translating
a vision in FET colleges is an important frst step in leadership. All constituents must
believe that more can be achieved through shared leadership and teamwork at all levels
than in an individualistic system. To be led effectively in the 21
st
century, FET colleges
must undergo systematic change. Research in this feld has revealed that to manage
change successfully within a large diverse institution you need to take people from all
levels with you.
The form of organisational structure varies even within the same organisation. This
was illustrated by the varying opinions shared by the participants. The main reason
for variance may be sought in the nature of tasks that have to be done and the industry
involved (nature of a particular business). One participant cautioned that: The structure
must be as broad and as inclusive as is possible. On the question of centralisation,
it was found that most participants felt that certain functions are better centralised
in any organisation, there was a need for different structures to co-exist and that no
organisation was built on one structure only. They also argued that these structures
might range from complete local autonomy to total centralisation, according to the
needs and circumstances of a particular college.
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M. J. S. Mohlokoane and I. A. Coetzer
The opportunities offered by the FET college mergers
The restructuring of FET colleges has positioned them as the single biggest contributor
to intermediate skills that are essential for achieving the four out of fve key Human
Resource Development (HRD) objectives, namely, improving the foundations for human
development; improving the supply of high-quality skills that are more responsive to
societys and economys needs; increasing employer participation in lifelong learning;
and supporting employment growth through industrial policies, innovation, research
and development (Asmal, 2003:2).
All twelve participants in this investigation articulated the opportunities that were
presented by the merger of colleges as sharing of staff experiences, developing and
introducing new programmes in all campuses, supporting of weaker campuses, sharing
of resources and information contacts like international links, and creation of more
posts. On the question of partnerships, most participants and the documents consulted
indicated that much had to be done in that area. This was endorsed by the Minister
of Education (Pandor, 2004:1) in her acknowledgement of the partnership between
the DoE and the business community through the Business Trust, which has invested
considerably in restructuring existing colleges. Colleges were, therefore, encouraged to
identify local businesses that could become partners.
The management of resistance to change
This inquiry has revealed that resistance to change was a worrying factor at colleges
and that change was not managed correctly. This resulted in considerable tension felt
in all kinds of ways. For example, educators and other staff members felt left out of
the process. All participants had a frm belief that: People in leadership positions
who are more interested in addressing their personal interests cause resistance. Beach
and Reinhartz (2000:303) point out that change is part of life for both individuals and
organisations. Whether change is planned or occurs spontaneously, due to natural
circumstances, there are cumulative consequences for the organisation. Decisions in the
interest of effciency that are inconsistent with the leaders professional duty to his/
her colleagues and students, may lead to the leaders unpopularity. The study revealed
that the leadership did not receive much support from staff due to certain decisions they
had taken. In one instance, only certain staff members were given an opportunity to
serve in the team driving the change process in the college. One participant specifcally
blamed the Department of Education for imposing a moratorium on promotional posts
at colleges for the level of resistance and uncertainty that prevails.
Gultig, Ndhlovu and Bertram (1999:78-83) argue that the change process is complex.
They propose a number of perspectives on change and reform that need to be considered
for its successful management. These are the following:
The more complex the change, the less you can force it.
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Towards a leadership model for the effective management of Further Eucation . . .
Change is a journey, not a blueprint.
Individualism and collectivism must have equal power.
Both top-down and bottom-up strategies are necessary.
Change is systematic.
The best organisations learn externally, e,g. by using international colleges for
benchmarking, as well as internally, e.g. from suggestions made by staff.
Recommendations
Based on the perspectives gained from the literature on leadership in FET colleges and
this investigation, the following recommendations are made to promote the successful
leadership and responsiveness of the FET colleges.
The new approach to the FET college leadership
The researcher found that no single leader has the range of attributes and skills needed for
every occasion, but within a senior management team there are many more possibilities.
Consistent with the new developments in the country and in educational leadership,
collective leadership is increasingly seen as the most suitable approach. There is also a
demand for a vision developed collaboratively by all who teach in FET colleges and all
stakeholders. More explicitly, leadership and managerial processes and techniques are
receiving more attention and are needed more than ever before. Consistent with the new
developments in the FET college sector and the adaptive process of leadership, the new
approach should do the following:
Facilitate open communication among all stakeholders ranging from students,
educators, parents, industry as well as government;
Establish an environment at the college conducive to the spirit of shared vision;
Encourage distributing college leadership across all campuses and all faculties;
Promote transformational leadership that is the essence of the countrys democracy;
and
Promote leadership focused on the quality of service the college delivers.
Leadership that is more accountable to the community
Leadership committed to reporting the performance of the FET College to the community
can stimulate more interest and change the communitys erroneous perception of
colleges. The targeted audiences should include teachers, principals, students, parents,
and members of college councils, journalists, staff of department of education, legislators
and local government offcials. The community has information and opinions about
the colleges and about their quality and effectiveness, but much of it is mistaken or
misunderstood owing to poor marketing of the college and lack of information on the
part of the community. The above arguments present a leadership challenge for FET
colleges as well as the Department of Education.

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M. J. S. Mohlokoane and I. A. Coetzer
Partnerships and financial support for FET colleges
According to Barnes and Phillips (2000:186), partnerships, also known as linkages or
co-ventures, can be defned in different ways. Partnerships are agreements made for
mutual beneft, as in a two-way fow of communication resulting in something positive
for the participants. The researcher argues that the success of the new FET colleges will
be decided by the partnerships between the college and industry, the community and all
its stakeholders. Moreover, a balance must be constantly maintained between attention
to the core businesses of the college (its learners and curriculum) and attention to
more corporate concerns relating to the demands of external stakeholders. Additional
fnancial support is needed to ensure that the colleges leadership is innovative and
achieves the following important objectives:
Academic programmes improvement and alignment with new trends;
Development of new programmes including learnerships;
Establishment of Quality Assurance Systems; and
Support of team building exercises and staff development programmes.
Recommended leadership model
Leadership models should not be prescribed but should be fexible enough to accommodate
new trends and developments in education. Based on the fndings reported in this article,
a model is presented that could provide a guideline for the development of effective
FET college leadership, teams and the development of structures for the transformation
of newly merged colleges. Todays increasingly dynamic and unpredictable world calls
for integrated thinking and action at all levels. The old model in which the top thinks
and the locals act must give way to something new. In the new era the leader who can
harness the collective genius of all the stakeholders in her/his organisation will be able
to lead it to a winning position in the race ahead. The new leadership should have the
ability to create a shared vision, employ the principle of creative tension and act as the
designer of an organisational culture (Pellissier, 2001:212).
The researcher recommends a leadership model for FET colleges based on the
following principles advocated by Pellissier (2001:212):
The principle of life-long learning
The leader should:
Possess a generative impulse to expand his/her knowledge;
Examine new ways of managing the institution;
Design systems that control events; and
Adapt quickly and effectively to changing circumstances.

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Towards a leadership model for the effective management of Further Eucation . . .
The principle of creating a shared vision
The new leaders should
Be designers, teachers and builders;
Continually expand their own capabilities to shape their views of the future;
Possess the skill to challenge existing leadership models;
Possess the skill to instil systematic patterns of thinking into their subordinates; and
Have the ability to build a shared vision.
The leader as a designer of culture
The leader should:
Build an organisations culture and shape its development as an essential function
of leadership;
Be a designer, teacher and steward who should enhance the development of the new
culture;
Be responsible for helping people develop more empowering views than those within
their current reality; and
Act as a steward who operates from a sense of commitment to shared ownership of
the organisations larger mission.
Finally, the leader should be able to see clearly where the organisation has to go, that
is, what its vision is and where it is now, and raise the current reality towards the vision
or lower the vision towards the current reality.
Conclusion
The leadership of the FET College should be aware of the immense importance of the
service they deliver to society. Working together with the government and the public to
transform the system of education and training requires strong and visionary leadership.
The FET colleges leadership has an important role to play in providing opportunities
and enhancing the skills of their staff and the capabilities of their students. Moreover,
FET college leadership should ensure that graduates of colleges possess requisite
literacy and critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to become lifelong learners and
researchers.
This conclusion was reinforced by the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, on 28
May 2004 when she said: We will work to ensure adequate funding of the technical
colleges and proper alignment of the courses they offer with the requirements of the
economy. The Minister further pointed out that the mandate of the technical colleges
or Further Education and Training (FET) colleges is to provide intermediate skills for
young people and adults to enable them to participate actively in the economy. Recent

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M. J. S. Mohlokoane and I. A. Coetzer
statistics showed that up to 60 percent of the unemployed were from the younger
generation, because they do not receive training to equip them with skills to meet the
challenges of the globalising economy (Pandor, 2004:1). Thus, FET colleges need to be
funded and developed in a manner that will allow them to provide both skills upgrading
programmes as well as leading edge programmes that answer to the challenges of
supplying the critical need for skills in South Africa. The framework of action presented
in the FET Act should be put into action. On the question of strategic planning, which
forms the essence of leadership, the Minister indicated that several clusters of colleges
had submitted their institutional plans to the Department of Education and these must
be implemented.
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