Durban - A new draft bill will strip school governing bodies (SGBs) of the authority to appoint school principals, their deputies and heads of departments.
However, the Department of Education says the bill is intended to address corruption in such appointments.
Teachers’ unions in KwaZulu-Natal have vowed to oppose the department’s draft Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill. Expressing their unhappiness at the bill ahead of a stakeholders’ meeting with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga later this month to finalise submissions on the bill, unions said stripping SGBs of their powers to appoint principals would also strip them of the right to be part of the school.
The bill also seeks to hand control to the department to determine a school’s language policy, to prevent the disruption of schooling and curb the spread of corruption in the appointment of school heads.
SGBs are opposing the proposal to be stripped of powers, warning that they would do anything to ensure that the power to appoint school heads remained with them.
Matakanye Matakanya, the National Association of Schools Governing Bodies’ general secretary, said dire consequences came with denying communities the right to have a say in the appointments.
“The department will be taking us back to the era of apartheid where leaders, including school principals, were imposed on the community. We aren’t about to allow that to happen again.”
Education Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said MEC Kwazi Mshengu believed some of the powers delegated to SGBs needed policy change.
“Among other concerns is that SGBs are involved in the fixing of posts.”
Speaking at the National Senior Certificate awards ceremony in Durban this week, Premier Sihle Zikalala said the bill sought to address chaos and corruption over school posts.
“Not everyone in the SGB understands education and its changing dynamics. This contributes to chaos. We need to look at this issue carefully because it has a negative impact in the management of schools,” he said.
Zikalala said he would have more discussions with Mshengu to find ways to ensure the right people were allocated powers to appoint teachers.
Zikalala’s comments were dismissed by the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union as not being informed by any research.
“Not all of the members of the SGBs are illiterate and clueless about education. There are many SGB members who are highly qualified in various fields.
“We urge the continuous existence of the SGBs and we trust them with all the responsibilities, including the appointment of school principals and their deputies,” said Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza.
National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA spokesperson Thirona Moodley said Naptosa believed the bill will do more harm than good.
“A school serves a particular community and belongs to the community. A lot has gone wrong, yes, but a lot has gone right. We aren't addressing anything by this bill. Instead of this bill, we should workshop SGB members and offer them support,” she said.