Parents must be at forefront of electing governing bodies

As the election period for school governing bodies opened on Friday, the National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB) has warned parents and guardians to play their part in choosing members of the school governing body (SGB).

NASGB secretary general Matakanye Matakanya said there are less than 20 days from March 1 when the voting period opens to March 31 because of the school holidays, which start on March 21.

“It is therefore important that parents make a quorum on the first date announced for the elections,” he said adding that a quorum is only 15% of parents and guardians. “The second date does not consider a quorum,” he reminded parents.

“I would encourage parents not to go into that space [ when a quorum is not required],” he said people who do not have the best interest of the pupils, parents, teachers and the community exploit it for their own nefarious interests.

Matakanya said that these disruptive forces are sometimes important role players in the school community, adding that it is sometimes principals who are the rotten apples that want to make sure that parents who are loyal to them are appointed as SGB members.

“Principals are members of the SGB by virtue of being leaders of the school,” he said.

“The principal is therefore the longest serving member of the SGB, while other members have a three-year tenure. Principals can be part of SGB for decades, depending on how long they have been in the position,” he said.

Matakanya said principals also know the strengths and weaknesses of the parents in their schools, saying that this could play an empowering or destructive role to the SGB members, especially in quintile 1 to 3 schools, which are located in poor rural and township areas, where the majority of parents are unemployed or not well-educated.

He said a good principal empowers the governing body to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to execute their responsibilities and powers.

“Parents are loyal to principals and teachers, and no parent can disrupt the good climate of a school,” he said. He said it is this powerful position of influence that principals have that can either work for the good or detriment of the school.

“Sometimes it is thes1 department of education officials who sow disorder so that they can have people they can easily manipulate in the SGB,” she said.

“The SGB plays a very important role in the functioning of a school and provides an oversight role. The principal manages the school. If they work together in executing their respective responsibilities; it shows in the performance of the school,” he said.

The newly elected SGBs assume their responsibilities the moment they are declared to be freely and fairly elected SGB members.

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