School Governing Bodies are essential partners in the combined effort in delivering quality education to the children of this province.
SGBs have major responsibilities which they exercise on behalf of schools, including; determining the admission policies of schools and the code of conduct for learners. (It is only on the recommendation of the SGB, after due process, that learners can be expelled from school.) In addition, Governors draft the school budget and decide with the support of parents on school fees. Of crucial importance is the fact the SGB interviews and nominates educators and principals for appointment by the WCED.
In many schools Governors are also in a position, on behalf of the school, to create additional posts and to employ additional staff.
Given these responsibilities, it is important that the WCED, as well as school communities, prepare well for the upcoming SGB elections, which are expected to take place at the end of March 2012. (Final date still to be announced) All public schools have to hold SGB elections in 2012 even if a recently elected governing body has not completed its full three-year term of office.
Parents are encouraged to seriously consider making themselves available despite the demands that will be made on their time, because of the enormously important contribution which school Governors make to the provision of education in our system.
The Western Cape Education Department has already asked schools to start planning for these elections, which are the biggest in the country after local and national government elections.
A provincial electoral team has been constituted to co-ordinate and monitor the election activities of the district and school electoral teams in the Western Cape. The team consists of WCED officials, representatives of SGB Associations and other stakeholders.
Principals have been asked to begin setting up school electoral teams consisting of educators and non-educators employed at the school. Parents and learners may also serve on the school electoral team.
The school electoral teams have various responsibilities, including; the nomination of an electoral officer, who must be the principal of another school, appointed by the district electoral officer. The electoral team must prepare a voters’ roll of all eligible voters in the school and have it available at all SGB election meetings. Schools must also ensure that the SGB election is well advertised by distributing and displaying advocacy literature provided by the WCED and in-house information produced by the school and provide staff to assist the electoral officer where needed.
Principals of public schools will once again be trained as electoral officers, and will be responsible for managing the SGB elections. Training will be conducted by the district electoral officers and further details will be provided to school principals in due course.
All public schools are in possession of the legislative measures relating to governing bodies and the amendments published in the Provincial Gazette Extraordinary in 2008. Should there be any further amendments to the measures, schools and other role-players will be provided with that information as early as possible.
This is a huge logistical exercise for the WCED, and we look forward to receiving the relevant support from all our schools in carrying out these very important role and responsibilities.