All public service organisations in the world use social policies as a guide to render services for the greater good of their citizenries. Operating in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) implies that schools need to reinvent their role (administratively, pedagogically and otherwise) to ensure that they become catalysts for transferal of context-specific knowledge, problem-solving skills and creative thinking. Also, amidst a growing call by indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) scholars, governments and tribal authorities throughout the continent for African organisations to consider infusing indigenous epistemologies into their daily professional practices, this qualitative study investigated how Batho Pele (a Sotho word meaning “people first”) principles moderated participants’ execution of internally and externally directed knowledge-sharing practices at three selected public schools in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. The sample constituted 20 participants, namely teachers, heads of departments, administrative clerks and principals. Based on a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews and documents, the study found that two of the selected three schools did not consistently comply with the Batho Pele principles (BPPs) of (a) consultation, (b) access, courtesy and redress, (c) encouraging and rewarding excellence in innovation, and (d) leadership and strategic direction. Only one school was found to have satisfactorily complied with all the prescribed BPPs in how it fostered internally directed (or collegial) knowledge-sharing practices. However, in so far as the infusion of BPPs in externally directed knowledge-sharing practices (more especially towards parents, educational officials, stakeholders from the public and private sectors and the school community at large) was concerned, all three schools were found to have satisfactorily engendered a climate of (a) consultation, (b) access, courtesy and redress, (c) information, openness and transparency, and (d) value for money. The study recommends that the fervency with which schools practise externally directed knowledge sharing must also be replicated in internally directed knowledge-sharing practices.
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