The challenges facing school governing bodies in historically disadvantaged schools with regard to their roles and responsibilities
Kumalo, Nzimeni Solomon
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The intention with this research was to investigate the challenges facing School Governing Bodies (SGBs) in historically disadvantaged schools with regard to their roles and responsibilities. The investigation departed from the premise of prescriptions of the South African Schools Act and other relevant legislation. From the literature review, it became clear that school governance would not be an easy task for schools, based on the precedence set by the apartheid school governance system. Indeed, it was found that SGBs in previously disadvantaged schools experienced numerous challenges. Decentralisation, stakeholder participation in school governance, SGB membership, determination of school policies requiring specialised knowledge and expertise, and policy-making and implementation were found to encapsulate most of the challenges facing SGBs in their roles and responsibilities. This research, being qualitative and phenomenological, used interviews to focus on some definitive school governance roles and responsibilities. Findings largely confirmed earlier research findings and included challenges such as a poor understanding of the school governance role of promoting the best interests of the school by school governors, the execution of roles and responsibilities being inhibited by poor training and poor capacity building, parent governors lacking knowledge and school governance skills, school governance functions requiring specialised knowledge and skills, a lack of trust, and the influence of suspicion and poor teamwork among school governors. The main recommendation relates to the review of the Schools Act in terms of specialised functions and who should perform them, and increasing the terms of office of school governors to derive maximum benefit from continuity before new members are elected and another cycle of capacity-building is needed. It is further recommended that the roles and responsibilities of school governors be well explained to stakeholders, even before nominations and elections are conducted, so that potential governors know exactly what is expected, and that continuous capacity-building becomes a regular feature at school level, including a school cluster-based programme addressing local school governance challenges.
- ETD@Vaal Triangle Campus