“They would not like it if men taught in the foundation phase”: SGBs’ perceptions of the employment of male FP teachers

Keywords: Foundation Phase (FP), male teachers, School Governing Bodies (SGBs), equitable employment


Efforts to recruit and retain men in the Foundation Phase (FP) teaching and learning have been a global phenomenon. In South Africa, School Governing Bodies (SGBs) are tasked with the responsibility to diversify schooling by recommending the employment of teachers in all educational phases to the Department of Basic Education (DBE). Two and a half decades since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, the teaching of children in the early years is still dominated by women. This study explores how SGBs in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa approach the employment of male teachers in FP. Using a qualitative research approach, a semi-structured focus group discussion was adopted to generate data with five SGB parent component members. The data was analysed thematically using a feminist post-structural lens. The study found that SGBs’ employment of male FP teachers is based on societal constructions of gender over employment policy guidelines. The SGB members showed a lack of policy understanding and at times misinterpreted the policies. These findings have implications for education policymakers and teacher training institutions in facilitating the smooth incorporation of males in FP teaching.

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