Minister Debbie Schafer
Tomorrow, the first of all schools across the country will begin to hold their School Governing Body (SGB) Elections.
The SGB elections are held every three years and are the biggest election process to be held in South Africa – after the national, provincial and local government elections.
I cannot over-emphasize the significance of these elections and why it is so important that the school community elects skilled, accountable and responsible individuals so that they can make informed decisions that will benefit and assist their school, and ultimately their children.
Many parents do not realize the major responsibilities which SGBs exercise on their behalf.
These responsibilities include; determining the admission policies of schools and the code of conduct for learners. In addition, Governors draft the school budget, decide with the support of parents on school fees, recommend staff appointments; and provide support for the principal, teachers and other staff.
I would therefore like to urge parents to participate fully in the nomination and election of members to ensure that their new SGB serves the best interests of their children.
When they make these nominations they must please keep in mind what skills their nominee will bring. While we value skills of all kinds, knowledge of accounting and legal processes is particularly useful given the kinds of financial and legal decisions that SGBs have to make.
We also call on parents to attend the nominations and election meetings because they have to have a quorum of at least 15%. For example, at least 75 parents must attend if the school has 500 learners on its admissions register.
In the past, we have found that many schools have had to postpone meetings because they did not have quorums.
The higher the turnout and the greater the participation rate, the better chance the school has of electing an SGB that is best suited to meet the interests of their children.
For information on the dates and times of individual school SGB elections, parents are encouraged to contact their school for further information.
SGBs represent four components of the school community: parents, teachers, non-teaching staff and learners in Grades 8 to 12.
All parents and legal guardians with children registered at the school are eligible for election.
The WCED has been working with schools to prepare for the elections, starting with 40 training sessions for principals as electoral officers in all eight education districts of the province during February.
The department has also provided every principal with a 31-page training manual that covers every aspect of the elections, from the legislative framework to compiling voters’ roles, election processes and managing disputes.
I would like to thank our outgoing SGBs for all their hard work and look forward to working with our new SGBs as we continue to strive for well managed schools providing quality education for all our children.