Principal leadership changes in South Africa: Investigating their consequences for school performance

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP01/2016
 
Publication date: 2016
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
 
Abstract:

A rising number of school leadership changes have been occurring in South African schools as a large proportion of incumbent principals near retirement age. While this presents opportunities to replace weaker school principals with better performing ones, these changes may also destabilise school environments and impede on learning. This paper explores how these principal change events affect school performance in the context of South Africa using a unique administrative dataset constructed by linking payroll data on the population of public school principals to national data on schools and matriculation examination outcomes. Exploiting the panel structure of the data, a school fixed effects strategy suggests that principal changes are indeed detrimental to school performance especially when leadership changes are due to principals exiting the public education system. These results are robust to using an alternative estimation strategy proposed by Heckman, Ichimura and Todd (1997) which combines propensity score matching with a difference-in-difference estimation strategy. The paper also considers two mechanisms through which school leadership changes may impact on school performance, namely through rising promotion rates and teacher turnover.

 
JEL Classification:

J63, I29, J45

Keywords:

Principals, school leadership, principal turnover, teacher turnover, school performance

Download: PDF (671 KB)

Login

(for staff & registered students)



Need a password?
Forgot your password?

BER Weekly

22 September 2017
In the domestic section we unpack the latest decision by Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). Against expectations for a cut, the MPC decided to keep the policy interest rate unchanged. Additionally, we look at the latest consumer inflation numbers from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), which shows that August...

Read the full issue
 

BER Weekly

22 September 2017
In the domestic section we unpack the latest decision by Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). Against expectations for a cut, the MPC decided to keep the policy interest rate unchanged. Additionally, we look at the latest consumer inflation numbers from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), which shows that August...

Read the full issue