Education MEC Lesufi urges SGBs to invest more in ICT

Johannesburg – School Governing Body (SGB) elections have kicked off across Gauteng. Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has urged parents to take part in the elections, which will end on April 30.

“The Gauteng provincial government has undertaken to radically transform and modernize the education system. This is a clarion call to all parents to take interest and have a say in how this process unfolds.

“I encourage parents to join hands with the Gauteng provincial government by taking an ardent interest in issues,” said Lesufi, adding that this is an opportunity for parents to have a say on who is elected in the SGB of their children’s school and possibly stand for nomination as well.

SGBs are tasked with ensuring that schools are run efficiently. Their functions include maintaining school infrastructure, determining the language policy and sport codes, learner discipline, recruitment, recommendation of appropriately qualified personnel and determining school fees at fee-paying schools.

Lesufi also urged the new cohort of SGBs to take their roles seriously and invest in information and communication technology (ICT) to enable the competence of the pupils in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He said: “The area that I want to urge the incoming SGBs to work around is the use of ICT. We are now compelled to use gadgets, connectivity and to ensure that everyone that is needed in a meeting is part of that meeting.

“In using ICT, we may regress in excluding other people due to lack of resources but now education and learning has to continue even when learners are at home, so we have no choice but to invest a lot of money for this to happen.

“We have no choice but to invest heavily in ICT to ensure that we provide learners and teachers with the support they need for teaching and learning to continue during this [coronavirus global] pandemic.”

The SGB polls are in line with the Schools Act and are the third largest after the national, provincial and local government elections. Lesufi said the new SGB members will take over their responsibilities once the elections have been declared free and fair at the end of the process.

The SGB elections in Gauteng are using two modes: standard elections and fullday elections.

Standard elections mode:

• Pre-nomination: – Nominations are submitted seven days before and must close a day before the nomination date.
• Nomination meeting: – Parents nominate, second and accept nominations.
• Election meeting: – Ballot paper gets developed – Parents vote. If they form a quorum and if not, elections are postponed – If the exact number of parents are nominated, they become duly elected.

Full-day elections:

• Pre-nomination – The SGB sends an election notice to parents and the principal attaches the management plan detailing the procedure for the full-day elections meeting.

The procedure unfolds in a similar format to the standard/usual election mode except that at the end, the number of participants, if they make 15%, will be used to authenticate the process.

If less than the expected number participated, the SEOs (school electoral officers) will set a new date. – In the event where a 15% quorum of parents who are on the voters’ roll is not achieved, the SEOs will announce a new date for the elections within 14 days.

In the event where the candidates are considered to be duly elected, the SEOs will inform the principal to send an urgent message to parents advising them about the outcome so that they should no longer come to vote.

When a 15% quorum is achieved, the procedure used in the standard/usual mode of elections applies.

The province has completed its election readiness processes that include the appointment of the provincial electoral team comprising the provincial electoral officer, district electoral teams and the provincial monitoring team.

Legislation underpinning the overall roles and responsibilities for SGBs:

• South African Schools Act, 1996, as amended • National Education Policy Act
• Gauteng Schools Education Act, Act 6 of 1995 • Governing Body Regulations, 1997 (GN 786, of 1997, as amended)
• Code of Conduct for Governing Bodies (GN 2591)

How Gauteng helps incoming SGBs

The Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance is a Section 21 Company (non-profit organisation and an agency of the Gauteng department of education).

It was established to research, develop and deliver cutting-edge capacity building programmes in school management & leadership, school governance and teacher development for schools in Gauteng.

The institution is located in two campuses

Vrededorp which serves as the head office and Benoni which serves as the ICT training centre for programmes.

The institution plays an important role in capacity building for SGBs, teachers, learner-leaders, parents with school-going children, school leaders and managers in the form of principals and school management teams.

The focus of the institution is in the areas of:

• Professional growth of educators and school governors
• School leadership and management development
• Improving education practice through research
• Other capacity-building initiatives relating to new education policy initiatives and teacher upskilling.

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