FEDSAS: Thirty years at the cutting edge of school governance

27/11/2023 - Fedsas

We belong. With this focus, FEDSAS (the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools) used 2023 to ensure that every member school knows that they form part of the FEDSAS family. FEDSAS managers conducted more than 4200 school visits to assist members with difficult decisions but also to listen to their success stories.

“A sense of belonging is one of the most important building blocks for success today. In a society where we are so easily overwhelmed by information, and where it is so difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, there is so much value in a supportive community,” says Dr Jaco Deacon, CEO of FEDSAS.

FEDSAS is celebrating its 30th year this year and the organisation’s Annual General Meeting took place this weekend (25 November 2023). “The reports from each section of FEDSAS show that this year also belonged to FEDSAS. Our committed staff had a profound impact on each province. We are extremely proud of our culture of support and our positive impact.”

 FEDSAS supported schools in several court cases this year while the team of education law experts developed 19 new policy documents for schools with learners with special education needs. The organisation attended and contributed to all 27 public hearings on BELAB (the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill). “This fight is far from over and FEDSAS is working with other groups on possible legal action to test the constitutionality of BELAB.”

Deacon says training and support to members of school governing bodies remains one of the core tasks of FEDSAS. In addition to the thousands of school visits, 53 online events were presented to more than 6600 delegates. The FEDSAS Centre for Technology also presented several free webinars to help schools consider the impact of artificial intelligence on the school environment. The Centre for Finance and Risk Management developed products and provided training to assist schools with financial management. The introduction of a new fundraising project for schools, Sim4Schools, was one of the highlights.

 “FEDSAS also gave long-service awards to six staff members who dedicated a combined 65 years of service to the organisation. Not only does this level of experience provide a unique benefit to our members, but it is also confirmation of the internal ‘sense of belonging’ that is such a hallmark of the FEDSAS team,” says Deacon.

“For FEDSAS cooperation with other role-players is crucial. The organisation’s approach is based on consultation and negotiation. And in this regard, we also acknowledge organisations and individuals who make a positive contribution to education in South Africa.

“This year FEDSAS awarded a commendation to Chris Klopper, CEO of the South African Teachers Union (SAOU). Chris is stepping down after more than three decades in the education sector. His contribution to the union industry and school governance in South Africa is immeasurable. In many regards, he laid the foundation for the model and standard for the effective functioning of a modern education union. Chris was also the keynote speaker at the AGM.”

 Deacon says FEDSAS’s focus for 2024 is to “create opportunities”. “Yes, the education sector is facing many challenges. But the other side of that coin represents all the opportunities. For 30 years FEDSAS has been at the cutting edge of school governance. This is only possible because the FEDSAS team of today can build on the foundation of innovation laid down by our predecessors. Next year’s school governing body election is one of these opportunities.”

PHOTO: Dr Shaun Mellors (right), National Chairperson of FEDSAS, hands over a commendation to Mr Chris Klopper of the South African Teachers’ Union in recognition of his immense contribution to education in South Africa.

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