Durban — The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) encouraged parents to nominate capable, competent, and committed parents to take up the reins of managing public schools.
Naptosa KZN chief executive Thirona Moodley made the appeal after Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga launched the 2024 School Governing Body (SGB) Elections campaign on Monday. Every school must have an SGB elected every three years.
The elections will be held at all schools across the country from March 1-31. Motshekga said SGBs are an important part of school governance, a legal entity that comprises parents, teachers, non-teaching staff, learners and the school principal.
Motshekga said that in KZN, where there was an improvement in results, the unwavering support of SGBs played a pivotal role.
She said schools with active SGBs excel across metrics, including academic performance, learner well-being, and community engagement, and the correlation between engaged SGBs and school success was undeniable.
“Schools with high SGB participation report an average 20% higher pass rate than those with lower engagement. Additionally, incidents of vandalism and truancy decrease significantly in schools with active governing bodies. These are not just numbers – they are compelling evidence of the power of active participation,” the minister said.
Motshekga said the campaign theme is “Empower, Engage, Educate”. It aims to catalyse a shift. She added that they intend to reach every corner of society, “because the SGBs are the backbone of our school communities”. She encouraged active participation.
“SGBs ensure our schools are not merely institutions of learning but beacons of hope, character and community spirit. Their impact is profound and far-reaching, with roles encompassing financial management, policy formulation, and staff appointment,” Motshekga said.
She said past participation rates have not matched aspirations, with the turnout lingering around the 40% mark. Motshekga regarded the SGBs as “the unsung heroes who bridge the gap between communities and classrooms, working tirelessly to build environments where every child can flourish”.
“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,” Motshekga said.
Moodley said SGBs are an indispensable component of the schooling system. They are entrusted with powers through the South African Schools Act, and this must not be compromised or undermined. Moodley appealed to the Department of Education to provide support and guidance to the newly elected SGB.
“Parents must become active agents for public education and be part of the decision-making process in public schools. We also ask that the general parent-body turn out in their numbers to vote in the SGB. Naptosa encourages educators to make themselves available to serve on the SGB,” Moodley said.
Vee Gani, chairperson of the Parents’ Association of KZN, said the SGB consists of different components with people coming together to ensure the school is functioning and learning and teaching is taking place. Gani emphasised that parents must get involved.
“Schools are societal issues. They belong to the community. There is apathy among parents to join these meetings. The same people complain about issues in school.
“Parents must contribute in different ways. If you have the skill set or basic common sense, you can make a school a better place and leave a legacy behind. This is a volunteer job. Be part of your child’s growth,” Gani urged.
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