Parent involvement is key to the success of the school governing body elections currently underway. School governing bodies are elected every three years and the current election period ends on 31 March.
“Parents and legal guardians of children in public schools can become involved in two ways. One is to be eligible for election through a nomination procedure. The second is that parents simply have to vote,” says Dr Jaco Deacon, Deputy CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS).
Deacon says a number of schools have already elected new governing bodies. However, one of the biggest challenges is that some schools still struggle to reach a quorum. “At least 15% (10% in the Western Cape) of parents who are eligible to vote have to attend the nomination and election meeting in order for the election to be valid.”
With state interference becoming an increasingly bigger threat, parents simply cannot afford not to vote. “We often hear complaints of parents who do not want to send their children to schools in their immediate community because of a lack of quality education. But public schools belong to school communities. Parents and role-players have to become involved if the school in their community is not performing at an acceptable level,” says Deacon.
Parents’ involvement in their children’s education is not limited to choosing a school. Once a child is enrolled as a learner at a school, it becomes the responsibility of the parents or legal guardians to see to it that the school is managed properly by a trained and dedicated governing body.
With regards to newly-elected governing bodies, FEDSAS will be launching a country-wide training programme during the second term. “The organisation is also the most comprehensive source of information, resources and legal expertise regarding school governance. New governing body members will be supported in any way possible to ensure that they are equipped for this important duty,” says Deacon.
FEDSAS’ extensive information campaign around the SGB election also includes the development of two websites where parents and other role-players can access information about the election and the role of governing bodies. The websites are www.schoolelections.co.za and www.lovemyschool.co.za.