Constant criticism directed at the Department of Basic Education from different spheres of our society, inspired Dr Msawenkosi Thabethe to pursue his PhD at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) exploring Corporate Entrepreneurship within the Department of Basic Education in KwaZulu – Natal.
“I have worked for the Department of Basic Education for all my life. Education has been noble all along. However, lately everybody is criticising everything about education. From education officials, curriculum, standard of education, teachers down to learners. As an official myself I always get embarrassed when people criticise how the education department is managed. After completing my MBA, I thought there are elements of corporate management strategies that can be applied in the department to improve the level of management in the education sector. After learning how entrepreneurship skills are used to improve business performance, I then thought maybe this can be applied to improve performance in the education department if we take it as a business,” said Dr Thabethe, who was recently conferred with a PhD in Management Sciences: Specialising in Business Administration.
His thesis topic was, ‘Corporate Entrepreneurship Climate and Organisational Performance within the Department of Basic Education in KwaZulu – Natal.’
Dr Thabethe is vastly experienced within the education sector, having served the Department in various capacities including as a teacher, lecturer, Deputy Chief Education Specialist and he currently works as a Chief Education Specialist in the UMkhanyakude District.
He said the quality of Basics Education in South Africa in the 25 years of democracy has not reached the expected levels despite significant policy changes, as it continues to be criticised in many quarters as being poor.
“My study explored the adoption of Corporate Entrepreneurship (CE) as a strategy to improve performance in the Department of Basic Education in KwaZulu – Natal, to establish if the CE had contributed to the improvement of education in the province. This was premised on the generally accepted belief that entrepreneurship enhances organisational performance. Using a range of statistical techniques, it was established that CE elements had a positive and significant impact on the quality of education in the KwaZulu – Natal province,” he said.
Dr Thabethe’s study discovered that key Corporate Entrepreneurship elements are applied, to some extent, in the Department of Basic Education. Adding that these are mainly, work discretion, rewards, discretionary time and organisational boundaries.
“It was found that innovativeness, pro – activeness and management support for CE elements are perceived mainly by the young employees. Old employees are comfortable with the status quo as long as they keep their jobs. Irrespective of age, that is both old and young employees, did not believe that the department is promoting action and result-orientated behaviour,” added Dr Thabethe.
He also added that the study can assist policy makers and practitioners shape policy to allow for CE elements in the department as there is evidence that CE behaviour by employees influence the performance of an organisation. “The study results can guide managers in the department to pursue CE activities so as increase overall levels of organisational performance. Managers should encourage individual employees to undertake innovative activities. They must design rewards systems that will encourage employees to be innovative. Entrepreneurial behaviour can be the solution to improve the standard and poor performance in the department of education,” he argued.
Pictured: Dr Msawenkosi Thabethe.