School Governing Body (SGB) Associations and churches in Nelson Mandela Bay have launched a joint initiative to assist communities to reclaim their schools — beginning with a campaign to encourage parents at every school to participate in upcoming SGB elections.
The initiative is headed by the Church Education Task Team which was formed after the SGB Associations of NM Bay and New Brighton met with church leaders in November. According to a press statement released by the task team: “Churches were requested to support them in their quest to address the radically deteriorating moral values and assist them to motivate and empower parents to reclaim the schools in our communities. There is a perception that the education in the townships is worse than it was before 1994.”
Task team members are Pastor Neville Goldman, Archdeacon Zweli Tom and Dr Johann McFarlane of the Church Leaders Educational Task Team and Nomvuyo Mbiko, Welile Trato and Monga Peter who are chairpersons of SGB associations in NM Bay. The team decided on an initial three point plan. Firstly, to encourage SGBs to form study groups in all the 60 municipal wards, secondly, to embark on a “short term” campaign to empower parents to become involved in the governance of their schools, and finally to encourage all pupils and parents to accept responsibility for the welfare of their schools by participating in the JUST1HR movement.
It was decided to use the pending SGB elections to launch this Church – SGB partnership. Local print and radio media have been asked to assist in a SGB Election awareness campaign from the January 29 to March 26, 2015. The awareness campaign includes radio interviews and the publication of a series of articles aimed at empowering parents to participate in SGB elections from March 6 to 26. Churches have also been asked to promote the campaign from the pulpit.
The campaign has been named “Communities reclaiming their Schools” to emphasise that it is a community driven initiative. “We can’t expect others to always solve our problems. If there is something wrong with our schools let us fix them,” says the press statement.
On completion of the elections members of Churches and the GM Foundation competent in the area of school governance have volunteered to assist with the initial and ongoing training of SGB monthly study groups. The idea of this initiative is to also complement the Department of Education’s current “Management Plan For SGB Elections 2015”.