NYAKALLO TEFU and MMADIFEDILE MOFOKENG|
This week marks the last week for the elections of School Governing Bodies (SGB) in the country.
This is why Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi asked parents for their timely participation in the process of election.
“Parents, teachers and learners are an important part of the process of improving schools,” said Lesufi.
He added that parent participation gives SGBs an effective voice in decision-making in schools.
Elections started on 15 March 2021 and will end today, 30 April 2021.
SGBs represent all sectors of the school community, including parents, educators, non-teaching staff and, in Grades 8 to 12, learners too.
All parents and legal guardians with children registered at a school are eligible to vote, and 10% of a school’s parents must vote to achieve quorum.
According to the department of basic education (DBE), the South African Schools Act gives governing bodies considerable powers and responsibilities in governing schools, such as the school’s constitution, mission statement and code of conduct, budgeting and financial management, recommending staff appointments, and generally supporting the school and its staff.
SGBs also play an important role in developing policies relating to issues such as language, religious instruction, school fees and a code of conduct for learners.
Lesufi said: “We call on parents to select the best candidates among those who will be nominated. What we know is that schools perform better where parents participate in the affairs of the school and take charge of the education of their children.”
SGB elections this year will happen electronically because of theCovid-19 measures put in place and the current restrictions.
Lesufi said because we can no longer meet as we used to, parents are now compelled to use gadgets and connectivity.
“In using ICT, we may regress in terms of accessibility and we may regress because not all parents have access to ICT and the required resources for access,” said Lesufi.
But some unions are not happy. Inside Education interviewed the Gauteng Secretary at the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) on Thursday. The union said it is emphatically against this way of voting.
“We have discouraged electronic voting,” said Sadtu Gauteng Secretary Tseliso Ledimo.
“It is not happening. This process did not follow due process and we anticipated that there will be a lot of difficulties,” said Ledimo.
Ledimo said this will be discussed for the future, where challenges can be identified, and they are able to deal with them accordingly.
Gauteng education said once elections are complete and they are deemed fair and free, the new members will then take over their positions.
DBE said SGB elections only take place every three years. The MEC said it is important that parents participate in this year’s elections for real change to happen in schools post-Covid.