Active participation in SBL elections encouraging

Henry

A spirit of healthy democratic participation characterizes this year’s school governing body elections, the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas) said on Friday.

These elections take place every three years and schools have until March 31 this year to complete them. More than 250,000 SBL members are to be elected from the country’s 22,511 public schools.

“We receive very good feedback from many of our member schools about communities that are much more involved than in previous elections.

This is wonderful news, especially in light of the many challenges that await education this year,” says Dr. Jaco Deacon, CEO of Fedsas.

According to him, it is clear that more and more school communities are taking ownership.

“This gives shape to the spirit of the Schools Act, which states that public schools are a community asset that is managed by a community.”

“The governing body election is a democratic process. There is no place for gatekeepers, either in person or in the form of unwritten rules and perceptions about procedures. Most provinces have published proper election regulations, which clearly outline the procedures and roles.”

Everyone has a role

It is obviously important that all role players in the electoral process know what is expected of them.

Deacon says school leaders’ role in the election is mainly communication about the process on their official communication platforms. Departing governing bodies’ functions again include planning and carrying out the electoral process.

The process is then concluded with a proper transfer meeting with the new governing body.

Deacon says at this stage it is assumed that governing bodies have already decided on the date and format of the election.

“Apart from process communication, the school also plays an important role in the marketing of the election. The school must also, once the candidates have been nominated, introduce all the candidates equally to the school community.

“Fedsas welcomes good, healthy democratic processes and elections to elect the best possible leaders for our schools. Good school leaders will exploit this energy and momentum positively in the interest of their school.”

Deacon believes active participation in governing body elections has been absent for a long time.

“We are very happy to learn that parents and communities outside the school’s official structures are communicating, recruiting and suggesting possible candidates.

“It is important that we nominate strong candidates and turn up in large numbers to vote. Ultimately, it is these governing bodies that will deal with the consequences of the Bela Act.”

Training important

Fedsas again emphasized on Friday the importance of good governing body training, so that members can carry out their duties thoroughly and efficiently.

“We request our members to make sure that the governing body and management teams are well equipped for their task. Fedsas has thorough, proven training programs and numerous other resources to assist regulatory bodies.”

Fedsas said earlier that this year’s elections are make or break for education in South Africa, especially in light of the controversial Bela legislation which is at an advanced stage.

This legislation contains numerous changes that will strip school communities of their say in how public schools are run.

For more information on the SBL election as well as Fedsas’ training programs and other resources, visit www.fedsas.org.za.