From not-for-profit to profit-driven independent schools through the eyes of some of the stakeholders

Change of governance in independent schools




South African school system, Independent schools, Not-for-profit governance, Profit-driven governance, Education, Stakeholders


This qualitative study sought to explore the experiences of stakeholders at independent schools during and after the transition from a not-profit governance approach to a for-profit governance approach after a change of ownership. Section 29(3) of the Constitution of South Africa provides that “everyone has the right to establish and maintain, at their own expense, independent educational institutions” subject to certain requirements to ensure quality education (RSA, 1996a).

Such schools have become an integral part of the South African education system. However, some independent schools represent the notions of investment and profitable business and companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) have started to invest in the independent school sector. The requirements of good governance, as stipulated in the King III Report on Corporate Governance for South Africa 2009, were used as the conceptual framework for this study.

Two independent schools that transitioned from a not-for-profit approach to a profit-driven governance approach were sampled. It was found that the experiences of the principals and management teams of the participating schools differed significantly from the experiences of the teachers and parents at these schools. A school is part of a community and when a company takes over a school, they need to make sure the communication to all stakeholders is clear and transparent.


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Author Biographies

Prof Johan Beckmann , University of Pretoria & University of the Free State, South Africa

Emeritus Professor of the University of Pretoria, currently a research fellow at the Faculty of Education of the University of the Free State

Dr Andre du Plessis , University of Pretoria, South Africa

Senior Lecturer, Departement Education Management Law and Policy Studies University of Pretoria 




How to Cite

Breedt, I., Beckmann, J., & du Plessis , A. . (2021). From not-for-profit to profit-driven independent schools through the eyes of some of the stakeholders: Change of governance in independent schools . Perspectives in Education, 39(4), 202–217.



Research articles