We are urging all activist learners, parents and community members to drive radical change through SGB's
During this month, thousands of schools across South Africa will hold annual School Governing Body (SGB) Elections. SGBs are mandated by the South African Schools Act and are an essential part of democratising public education, as envisaged by our Constitution. They offer a forum for the various stakeholders in the education of our children – principals teachers, non-academic school staff and, of course, learners and parents – to engage meaningfully over issues that affect the running of our schools. Importantly, learners and parents will always form the majority on a school SGB. This means that they are able to hold school management to account, and work together with their schools tackle the many problems that they face on a daily basis.
The SGB is empowered to serve a number of crucial functions. These include, but are not limited to: financial management, making recommendations for teacher appointments, drafting a school’s code of conduct and exercising oversight over educational curricula. However, in spite of progressive legislation, research has shown that SGBs face many challenges:
1. Many elected representatives, including parents, remain unaware of their powers and responsibilities, resulting in principals often exercising high levels of control over the SGBs functioning.
2. Many schools face massive struggles to get parents to attend SGB elections. When quorum is not reached, the election meeting must be called again. Unsuccessful elections affect the legitimacy of the process and risk demotivating the various stakeholders involved.
3. Many elected SGBs suffer from severe budgetary constraints and struggle to implement desired changes to the school environment.
4. SGBs are often not provided with adequate training and lack the resources necessary to perform their functions. Although provincial education departments are responsible for providing training workshops to the incoming SGB, these workshops are often inadequate and/or conducted in the second or third language of most of the parents, making them difficult to understand.
For the rest of this month, Equal Education will be campaigning around SGB elections. We will be educating learners and parents alike on the importance of activist-driven SGBs for the effective running of their schools, and encouraging all stakeholders to participate in the upcoming elections. Moreover, we will be educating our members and the wider public on the powers and responsibilities of SGBs. We encourage all parents to use this opportunity to participate actively in their children's education. At the conclusion of the election process, we will monitor the process of training SGBs closely, and offer our assistance where required.
FOR MORE INFO CONTACT:
Luzuko Sidimba, Head of Community Department, Western Cape
071 924 0956, firstname.lastname@example.org
Raphael Chaskalson, Researcher and Political education trainer
084 268 1699, email@example.com
Nishal Robb, Head of Western Cape office
079 511 6790 firstname.lastname@example.org