The importance of having a school governing body

The democratisation of South Africa in 1994 fostered resultant changes in many spheres of life for us, South Africans.

Education was no exception.  In order for the state to transform education according to democratic principles, all stakeholders were encouraged to participate in the activities of the school.  One of the important stakeholders, it was thought, was the parent.

This was formalised in Act No. 84 of 1996, the South African Schools Act (SASA), and later amended in Education Laws Amendment Acts, some of which were but not limited to Act No. 100 of 1997, Act No. 48 of 1999 and Act No. 53 of 2000.  It has become compulsory for all public schools to form and maintain a school governing body (SGB) to promote the best interests of the school.

One of the main purposes of the SGB is to support the principal and the staff in ensuring that pupils get the best possible education. 

This, the SGB would achieve by developing and adopting policies for the school.  Policies formulated are mere rules for organising, managing and controlling schools, within the legislated laws of the country and of the Department of Basic Education.

It is important for schools, in this ‘new democracy,’ to function within the ambit of a well-structured policy framework.

The other important function of the SGB is to develop and manage a realistic budget for the school, to control and maintain the school buildings and property, to buy textbooks and educational materials, to form networks with community members, and to raise funds for the school.  There are also other duties that may be delegated to the SGB by the Head of Department (HOD).

It is important that parents take their rightful place in the education of their children in South Africa.  Parents must take a leading role in the governance of public schools with the aim of improving standards and making the school a better place for our children. 

These and other functions of the SGB would be covered in future articles on ‘governance in schools’. Comments can be emailed to [email protected]


Dr J Naidoo

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