By Daanyaal Matthews
The School Governing Body election campaign officially kicked off with Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, announcing the election period to be between March 1 and March 31. The School Governing Body acts as both an overseer of the schools’ activities and a representative of the interests of parents, with the Basic Education Minister arguing in her statement that an engaged SBG has been proven to increase pass rates.
However, while the importance of SGB’s is universally unknown, arguments have been made that while the government knows of the governing bodies’ importance, not much has been done to ensure their effectiveness.
According to Riyaad Najar, Founding Member and Trustee of the Progressive Principal Association, the Department of Basic Education is failing to educate the prospective SGB position holder by not providing training, which leads to conflict as governing body holders interfere with administration.
“The SGB’s role is basically infrastructure, school safety, and fundraising, but they get involved in management, and then we have major problems in schools. There needs to be constant training of the governing body and their specific roles that should happen,” said Mr. Najar.
This lack of training creates a circumstance of chaos, with Mr. Najar adding that the failure of the government to adequately train parents, regardless of interest in the positions, results in delays in electing a governing body and eventually leads to nominations of unmotivated individuals, arguing:
“What’s going to happen in March is that in 90% of the cases, schools do not quota at their first election. Then they have to do it again where people are just nominated, and this is a massive problem where parents are not involved in the education of their children, and the SGB plays a crucial role in the appointment of teachers, the appointment of principals, and the financial situation at the school.”