School governance is a team effort. And if the excellent and diverse attendance of training for newly-elected school governing body members is an indication it appears that school communities are starting to buy into this idea. The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS) has been presenting this training country-wide since the completion of the school governing body elections in March this year.
“What is surprising is the diverse nature of attendance,” says Dr Jaco Deacon, Deputy CEO of FEDSAS. “It is to be expected that SGB members of FEDSAS member schools will attend but a large number of school governing bodies that are not yet FEDSAS members also reacted to the invitation to attend the training. There are also a number of education officials attending the sessions.”
Deacon says the attendance of various education role-players simplifies school governance. “When officials and SGB members are exposed to the same information all parties are on the same page, which in turn makes management easier.”
So far nearly 8500 people attended sessions country-wide. “This number is already higher than the total for the 2015 training,” says Deacon. Training in Gauteng and the Western Cape is now underway.
“FEDSAS cannot emphasise the importance of the training enough. School governance implies that SGB members must have detailed knowledge of specific legislation and processes pertaining to education. In this way many problems, especially around policy, can be avoided instead of having to take action reactively at a later stage.”
Deacon says feedback from the sessions is positive, and new SGB members are appreciative of how the functions of a governing body are set out. “The training is available in different languages and FEDSAS strives to make the information as accessible as possible. For example, more than 300 SGB members from the mountainous Qwaqwa area attended training sessions in Sesotho. Poverty and unemployment are challenges in this area. Just imagine the value it holds for children in this area to receive quality education. Creating an environment where learners have access to good education is the primary responsibility of a school governing body.”
Deacon says school governing bodies that are not members of FEDSAS are welcome to attend the training. “In fact, anyone in a school community who wants to play an active role may contact FEDSAS for more information. School governance is a team effort. It is not just the government or just the governing body or just the teachers’ responsibility to make sure that the education system functions properly. A public school belongs to the immediate community in which the school is situated – it is everybody’s responsibility.”
For more information or registration visit www.fedsas.org.za
(FEDSAS is a voluntary association of school governing bodies of public schools and supports quality education in these schools. More than 2000 public schools are already members of FEDSAS).