Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Eddie Mtsweni

Johnathan Paoli

Minister for Basic Education Angie Motshekga has praised the central role School Governing Bodies play in the more general and communal landscape of education and said the department hoped for increased participation for elections this year.

Motshekga was speaking during an address under the theme: “Empower, Engage, Educate”, which she said aims to catalyse a shift, with a multifaceted strategy leveraging both digital and traditional media, and intended to reach every corner of South African society.

The minister confirmed that the SGB elections will be held from 01-31 March 2024 in all ordinary public schools, in line with the legal requirement of conducting the elections for SGBs every three years.

The minister said research had consistently illustrated that schools with active SGBs excelled across various metrics, including academic performance, learner wellbeing, and community engagement, with schools exhibiting a higher SGB participation reporting an average of 20% higher pass rate than those with a lower engagement.

“From rural townships to bustling urban centres, our message is clear: your voice shapes the future,” the minister said.

Motshekga said the department intends to initiate conversations across communities, creating platforms for questions, discussions, and sharing ideas and that these dialogues will bridge gaps, dispel myths, and build a shared vision for the country’s schools.

However, the minister said past participation rates have not matched departmental aspirations, and despite the undeniable importance of SGBs, turnout has lingered around the 40% mark.

“This is not just a missed opportunity—it’s a call to action,” Motshekga said.

The minister used KwaZulu-Natal as an example, in which the department witnessed a remarkable improvement in results, as a result of what the minister claims was the unwavering support of SGBs who played a pivotal role.

“They represent not just an exercise in democracy but an opportunity for parents, educators, and community members to join hands and contribute to improving our schools,” the minister said.

Motshekga said transparency and inclusivity were the guiding principles in order to ensure every voice was heard.

“The future of basic education isn’t a distant horizon; it’s being built today. Through these elections, we can influence policies and decisions that will guide our educational landscape for years to come. We must choose a path toward excellence, equipping our children with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a dynamic world,” the minister said.

Motshekga confirmed that throughout this month, the DBE would share detailed information on the electoral process, nomination procedures, and critical dates, and said that in line with their commitment, these elections would be a model of democracy and accountability.

“My call to action today is simple yet powerful: get involved. Whether you choose to stand for election or cast your vote, your contribution holds immense significance. It will not only impact the lives of our children but also shape the future of our nation,” the minister said.

INSIDE EDUCATION

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