IoDSA Calls On Parents To Vote In School Governing Board Elections

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During March 2024, the Department of Basic Education will be overseeing elections for school governing bodies, as it is required to do every three years. The Institute of Directors in South Africa (IoDSA) is urging parents and other stakeholders eligible to actively participate in the voting process.

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“School governing bodies have a vital role to play in ensuring that our public schools are properly governed and thus more successful—if the education system continues to produce substandard outcomes, our common future is compromised,” says Professor Parmi Natesan, CEO of the IoDSA.

Good governance has been shown to improve performance in organisations of all types, school governing bodies included.

According to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, research shows that schools with active governing bodies excel across several metrics, including academic performance, learner well-being and community engagement. They also report a 20% higher pass rate than schools with lower engagement by the governing body. 

Additional benefits include a significant decrease in vandalism and truancy.

Governance is all about providing a framework for ethical and effective leadership to ensure the organisation (in this case a school) is sustainable over the long term. Broadly speaking, the school governing body fulfils the role of the board of directors in a company and is responsible for setting strategy and ensuring the executive is held accountable for implementing it.

The benefits of a school governing body adopting good governance include improved leadership, decision-making and strategic vision; better monitoring and mitigation of risks; and increased confidence on the part of internal and external stakeholders (such as pupils, teachers, parents, local communities and the Department itself).

As in the broader political sphere, the first step to realising the benefits of good governance is to ensure that the best possible governing body is elected. Having the right skills on board is critical.

Given the benefits that flow from an active governing body with the right mix of skills the school needs, it is concerning that turnout at these elections is reported at the 40% level,” says Professor Natesan.

Parents and other stakeholders who want to see a particular school succeed must take an active role, and ensure that people who are skilled and ethical are elected with the strong mandate that comes from a high voter turnout.

“A crucial step is for parents and other stakeholders to get involved and vote for the school governing body they want to see,” ends Natesan.

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