School governing bodies' support of schools to promote quality academic performance
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School governance in South Africa is the single most important factor in education that seems to experience apparent insurmountable challenges. Although more than a decade has passed since the enactment of the South African Schools Act (Act 84 of 1996) (SASA), it seems that efforts to have effective school governance fall far short of their intended outcomes. Despite various attempts aimed at training and capacity-building of school governors, including financial resources having been expended for these purposes, studies abound with reports of numerous challenges of school governance in South Africa. According to section 20(1)(a) of the SASA, the major role of the school governing body (SGB) is to promote the best interests of the school and to strive to ensure its development through the provision of quality education. The SGB, standing in a position of trust towards the school, must furthermore act in good faith and not engage in any unlawful conduct or conduct that may jeopardise the interests of the school. This implies that all SGB members must synergise their operative efforts towards the provision of quality education for learners. Serving and promoting the best interests of the school also finds expression in roles detailed in section 20(e-j) of the SASA, which include supporting the principal, educators and other staff of the school in the execution of their professional functions. To this end, there is substantial evidence to suggest that parents' involvement in the education of their children can make a significant difference in the educational attainment of those children. Research has consistently shown that, with the increase in parent partnerships in the governance of schools, there is a concomitant increase in student achievement. Numerous studies have found links between parent partnerships and student variables such as academic achievement, sense of wellbeing, school attendance, attitude, homework readiness, grades and educational aspirations. While these studies may not be linked directly to schools in South Africa, the findings are universally significant in terms of parent-school relationships. These studies further maintain that nothing motivates a child more than when learning is valued by schools and communities working together in partnership. They note that parent partnerships lead to greater achievement, irrespective of factors such as socio-economic status, background, level of education, and whether or not parents are employed. The aim of the study was to investigate the perceptions of SGB and non-SGB members regarding the support of SGBs to schools to promote quality academic performance in the Kgetleng River Area Office' schools in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District of the North West Province. A qualitative research paradigm was used in this study. In-depth individual and focus group interviews were conducted to collect data from 12 participants from two selected schools. Findings revealed that the relationship between SGB members is healthy and that SGBs are doing their best to promote the best interests of their schools by supporting the principals and educators with the aim of promoting quality academic performance. The recommendations were made based on empirical findings. It is recommended that principals discuss the quarterly results and school improvement plans (SIP) in detail at SGB and general parent meetings. It is further recommended that all SGB members and principals should be properly trained and that the Department of Basic Education and Sport Development should seek the professional assistance of the North-West University.
- Education