Practical advice to schools the focus of new FEDSAS book

17/08/2023 - Fedsas

Schools don’t want definitions, they want advice. This is the golden thread that guides all the activities of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS). FEDSAS’s commitment to practical support to especially school governing body members but also other education role-players is confirmed again with the publication of School Governance II: More issues and practical advice. The Afrikaans edition, Skoolbeheer II: Nog uitdagings en praktiese raad, will be available in October.

The book is the fifth in a series that specifically focuses on issues faced daily by school governing bodies and schools. FEDSAS CEO, Dr Jaco Deacon, and Deputy CEO, Ms Juané van der Merwe, are the authors. Juta is the publisher of the series. The previous books focused on topics that included court cases relevant to education, financial management in public schools and human resources management in public schools. The first book in the series was in question-and-answer format and dealt with real problems faced by real schools. “This new book is a continuation of the approach followed in the first book. The new publication focuses on 180 burning issues ranging from school discipline and educators to hostels and the activities of the school governing body,” says Deacon. Deacon says the book had its origin in FEDSAS’s focus on the professional development of staff. “Each week our staff members must supply solutions to a real problem faced by a school community. The answer is discussed in the next week’s internal newsletter. This allows staff to stay on top of the interpretation of legislation and provides them with an opportunity to learn from others.”

Deacon, an established author of several publications, holds Van der Merwe in high esteem. “Over the past nearly ten years Juané has established herself as a leading expert on education law. She is also the Head of FEDSAS’s legal services. In most cases, she was the first person contacted by members about the problems they were facing.”
Van der Merwe says as authors their approach was to present the content in the same practical, accessible way that the initial incidents were handled. “We work with people, not problems. With the right information and the necessary guidance, FEDSAS members can solve the problems on their own or prevent them.”

Deacon says the book is aimed at an audience larger than just governing body members. “South Africa’s education system can only be successful if we have knowledgeable role-players. To this end, the book is also aimed at government officials, educators and any other person who is involved with education in one way or another. FEDSAS has always been very open to sharing knowledge and expertise and this book is evidence of that.”

The book was launched at the conference of the South African Education Law Association in Cape Town this week, where academics, legal practitioners and education experts were together to find solutions to the challenges facing education.

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