Purpose To provide the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education with the 2015 SGB elections report.
Background Section 31 of the South African Schools Act, Act no. 84 of 1996 (SASA) as amended, stipulates that term of office of a member of a governing body other than a learner may not exceed three years. The previous SGB elections were conducted in March 2012. The term of office of the current governing bodies expire in March 2015. The Minister of Basic Education has approved the holding of the 2015 Schools Governing Bodies Elections from 06-28 March 2015.
Strategic significance of the elections The election of SGBs is one of the flagships of the education sector that has to be prioritised by all provinces in terms of planning, budget allocation and the allocation of both physical human resources. Governing bodies have a strategic significance as identified by the National Development Plan (NDP) which calls for the alignment of the interests of all stakeholders to support the common goal of achieving good educational outcomes that are responsive to community needs and economic development. The SGB elections contribute to the development of a strong sense of community ownership. The performance of schools tends to improve when parents are actively involved and take an interest in the affairs of the school.
Preparations for the SGB Elections The Department held interprovincial meetings to discuss the preparations for the elections. Preparations for the SGB elections included amongst others the following: Establishing SGB electoral teams at all levels of the system; Signing of an agreement with the IEC; Putting management plans in place; Training of all electoral officers; Promulgation of SGB Elections Regulations; Conducting the elections and monitoring them; and Activities after the elections that will lead to effective school governance.
Preparations for the SGB Elections… The Department produced several documents aimed at guiding the election process and to bring about uniformity across all provinces in the manner in which the elections should be conducted. The documents produced for the preparations of the elections were: Guidelines Relating to Elections of School Governing bodies of Public Schools; A training Manual for Electoral Officers; and An information pamphlet to guide advocacy materials.
Preparations at Provincial level Each province was expected to: Promulgate provincial Regulations for each election period; Appoint electoral officers; Provide training to electoral officers; Pair schools to swop electoral officers who are principals at school level; Ensure that schools compile voters rolls; Conduct advocacy campaign; and Develop election schedule.
Advocacy It was crucial for the sector to run an advocacy campaign to: raise awareness about the SGB elections; communicate the benefits of participation in the elections; explain the role of members of the community in the elections; attract quality volunteers; and promote good governance in schools.
Target audience Our target audience are as follows; Parents; Educators; School administrators; Non-government organisations; Learners; and SA citizens.
Some Key Messages Encourage all parents to support the elections by standing as candidates or by participating as voters in the SGB elections as voters. Without parental and community support, education can never be a societal issue as envisaged by government. Good governance in schools starts with you! Get involved! Your school needs you!
Tools and methods Website & Intranet Social Media Opinion piece Speeches Press releases Media interviews Television Radio Print
Advocacy campaign Public announcement of the election at the Social Protection, Communication and Human Development (SPCHD) cluster media briefing on 9 October 2014; Release of press statement to major media houses on 9 October 2013: Meeting of all Communicators in the education sector to plan for the advocacy campaign; Meeting of all Communicators of the SPCHD cluster to plan for the involvement in the SGB elections advocacy campaign; Presentation of the election report to the SPCHD technical working committee on 4 November 2014; Meeting between governance officials and Provincial QLTC Coordinators to discuss the expected role of the QLTC in the advocacy and monitoring of the elections; Ministerial roadshows and Provincial launches; and Cabinet Presentation
Elections Elections were conducted from 6 to 28 March 2015; Principals of schools were used as electoral officers of their neighbouring schools; National, provincial and district officials including the IEC monitored the elections; and Members of governing body associations also monitored the elections as observers.
Progress as at 28 March 2015 ProvinceNr of SchoolsSGBs in placeSGBs to be elected EC5 5514 629922 FS1 3121 3093 GP2 1902 1873 KZN6 0575 813244 LP3 9563 9506 MP1 7691 7636 NC5605573 NW1 5391 48752 WC 1 6071 325282 Total 24 54123 0201 521
Successes of the 2015 SGB elections 94% of the schools have completed the elections ( a record in the sector) The election period was uniform across all provinces; All provinces promulgated elections regulations except the Eastern Cape; The Minister of Basic Education conducted roadshows to encourage parents and communities to take part in the elections; Members of the Executive Council of Education held public meetings or media to launch the elections; Media houses hosted a number of interviews regarding the lections with officials at all levels of the sector; SGB associations conducted their own advocacy campaign with similar messages to those of the department; Schools were creative in encouraging parents to vote in the elections; Dispute Resolution Teams responding to complainants immediately and resolving 99% of disputes within three day timeframe; There was improved planning and execution of the elections by officials and stakeholders; Adherence to procedures by officials; and Low registered grievances.
Challenges Low turn-out in rural and some township schools; Late preparations by the Eastern Cape; Communities threatening to disrupt SGB elections to raise issues not related to school governance e.g. Bushbuckridge (MP), Malamulele (LP) Letlhabile and Tlhagameng (NW); and Lack of capacity in districts to monitor all elections.
Future plans Schools will elect office bearers within 14 days of the elections; The will be a handover process between the outgoing and the incoming SGBs; Provincial departments will inaugurate newly appointed SGBs and thank outgoing members; Provincial Departments will conduct an induction and orientation programme on roles and responsibilities of SGBs to new newly appointed members; and SGBs will be trained throughout their 3-year term of office.
The role of the DBE a)Development of Guidelines for the Capacity Building of School Governing Body members which stipulates minimum areas that SGBs must be trained on; b)The development of an SGB Effectiveness Tool which will be used to: – Assessment the functionality and effectiveness of the SGB; – Determine areas of support for SGBs; – Determine the needs for development and capacity building; and – To be used as a Self evaluation tool.
Conclusion Participation in schools by parents has been increasing in the last 6 (six) SGB elections. This is because more and more parents begin to understand the supportive role that they have to play in schools and our maturing democracy over the years.