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ERIC Number: EJ811184
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Pages: 34
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
ISSN: ISSN-0953-9964
Democracy, Social Capital and School Governing Bodies in South Africa
Woolman, S.; Fleisch, B.
Education and the Law, v20 n1 p47-80 Mar 2008
Critics of school governing bodies (SGBs)--both on the left and on the right--tend to rely upon arguments that ignore significant portions of the act that created SGBs--the South African Schools Act (SASA)--the exact nature of the changes to SGBs wrought by amendments to the act and the manner in which the courts, in interpreting the act, have both reinforced the autonomy of SGBs at the same time as they have set limits on those powers. The authors' reading takes seriously all of the provisions of SASA, its amendments and various court constructions of SASA's provisions. This close reading of the South African Constitution, SASA, SASA's amendments and the case law reveals the lineaments of a fourth level of democratic government. Even with their uneven success as a fourth tier of democratic government, SGBs reflect, in many respects, the most important interactions that citizens have with the state. The authors contend that SGBs provide a vehicle for popular political participation that is quite real, and that participation is made no less real by the strictures imposed upon them by South Africa's constitutional and regulatory order. Despite concerns about their lack of capacity, SGBs enjoy popular acceptance and participation across class and language divides. The legal status of SGBs does not merely enhance various forms of local democracy, SGBs also maintain and create effective social networks that generate new stores of social capital. The ability to provide new forms of democratic participation and to create new stores of social capital suggests that SGBs have the makings of a great, new and rather unique "South African" political institution. (Contains 70 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa