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South African Journal of Education

Print version ISSN 0256-0100

Abstract

MNCUBE, Vuzi. The perceptions of parents of their role in the democratic governance of schools in South Africa: are they on board?. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.1, pp. 83-103. ISSN 0256-0100.

I argue that parent participation in SGBs is an important ingredient in building democracy in the schooling system, as well as in the wider society of South Africa. At some schools in South Africa, parents are not yet playing their full role as governors mandated by legislation. Parents at some rural schools are reluctant to participate in the decision-making by School Governing Bodies (SGBs) as a result of their low educational level or of power struggles in SGBs. In some former model C schools, on the other hand, lack of participation is related to a level of education of parents in general, lack of education on parental involvement in school activities,  a fear of ‘academic victimisation' of their children, language barrier, and difficulty in attending meetings. This lack of involvement is at its highest in school governing bodies. It appears therefore that while representation and debate are theoretically open and fair, there are still factors that  inhibit SGBs from operating democratically. Although the political control of apartheid has gone, issues related to full democratic participation have not been resolved.

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