Cape Town: Saturday, 1 April 2017 – In a bid to ensure better financial management in schools and to ensure that the financial affairs of schools in the province are overseen effectively and efficiently, the Western Cape Department of Education, in partnership with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), is working on a project to upskill and mentor School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and ensure that schools’ financial decisions are made in the best interests of learners.
By law, every public school in South Africa must have an elected SGB to run their school’s finances. SAICA recognises that proper financial management is one of the critical factors for schools as resources are limited and it is only when schools start getting value for money and minimising losses and wastage that they can get the maximum benefit from their allocated funds. This is precisely what the project between the Western Cape Department of Education and SAICA is aimed at doing.
Speaking at the launch event held on Saturday 1 April at the Centre of Science and Technology in Khayelitsha, Julius Mojapelo, Project Director: Public Sector & Assurance at SAICA describes the main objectives of the project as follows:
- ‘Provide support to SGBs to enable them to manage school funds within a financially sound, efficient and effective financial management and governance system in compliance with the South African Schools Act, 84 as amended, the Norms and Standards for School Funding as amended; and the applicable provincial legislative and policy requirements
- Mentor the School Governing Bodies to perform above the minimum requirements in respect to the management and utilisation of available resources to improve the delivery of education in schools.
- Support the provincial DoEs to improve financial management and governance legislation, regulations, policies and procedures that schools are required to comply with.’
Minister of Education for the Western Cape, Debbie Schäfer, explains the importance of this project: ‘Our country’s future depends on our ability to improve education in the country. SGBs play an important part in this. The SGB’s role is to support the school administratively so that the educators can concentrate on teaching. This is a process that requires trust and the skill – especially when it comes to finances. People need to know that when they give schools money, it is going to be used well. For the past two years, we have been working with SAICA and Chartered Accountants from the region to capacitate schools in the province with this skillset.’
SAICA CEO, Dr Terence Nombembe adds: ‘One of the things SAICA prides itself on is delivering excellence in the public sector. Our partnership with the Western Cape Department of Education is helping to secure the well-being of learners by directly ensuring that resources are allocated in relation to the actual education needs of learners. When schools apply proper financial management and minimise losses, they get maximum benefit from their funds and the results are visible in the learners’ academic success.’
SAICA Southern Region President, Sandile Phillip confirms this: ‘I am living proof that education is critical in changing the trajectory of a township child. Many SGBs underestimate this power. With this project, we are helping SGBs recognise the critical role they have in their learners’ futures.’
19 schools are taking part in this project
Right now, the biggest need for this type of financial management project is in township schools, says Mojapelo. As such, the WCED and SAICA has selected the following schools from the Metro East Education District (MEED) and Metro South Education District (MSED) to take part in this capacitation project:
- Kwamfundo Secondary School, Khayelitsha
- Sinako Secondary School, Khayelitsha
- Usazaza Secondary School, Khayelitsha
- Homba Primary School, Khayelitsha
- Centre of Science and Technology (COSAT) , Khayelitsha
- Esangweni Secondary School, Khayelitsha
- Simanyenei Secondary School, Khayelitsha
- Kuyasa Primary School, Khayelitsha
- Sobambisana Primary School, Khayelitsha
- Andile Primary School, Nyanga
- John Pama Primary School, Nyanga
- Linge Primary School, Nyanga
- Mkhanyiseli Primary School, Nyanga
- Mzamomhle Primary School, Philippi
- Vukani Primary School, Philippi
- Heinz Park Primary School, Philippi
- Nobantu Primary School, Gugulethu
- St Mary’s (RC) Primary School, Retreat
- Phillipi Secondary, Mitchell’s Plain
Speaking about her experience, Homba Primary School SGB chairperson, Veronica Gope has nothing but praise: ‘It has helped our school governing body become more comfortable with the school’s finances. We are becoming better equipped to understand the school budget and run our school’s funding projects.’
CA(SA) from PwC, Michael Gillman echoes these sentiments: ‘I have learnt a lot from working with the SGB at Homba Primary. Besides having to figure out the School’s Act and Financial Manual, I’ve also had to gain an understanding of the cultural differences and challenges that township schools face on a day-to-day basis. They have such big challenges to deal with that finances often take a backseat at these schools and we need to learn to work around this in order to help them solidify the foundation of their schools so that they can focus on their job: educating learners. It’s been a great experience and something I really enjoy being involved in.’
‘The importance of a project like this cannot be understated,’ concludes Dr Nombembe. ‘This project currently has pilots running in Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, the North West, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. It is SAICA’s objective to expand this pilot project to every public school in the country.’
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 40 000 members who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)] and hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in their spheres of business operation. Most of these members operate in commerce and industry, and play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.
About the Thuthuka Bursary Fund and Education Upliftment Project:
One of SAICA’s prime goals is to contribute towards strengthening the country’s economy by playing a significant and leading role in transformation and skills development. The Thuthuka Education Upliftment Project, a pioneering initiative to promote transformation in the profession, was launched in the Eastern Cape in 2002 and is fast growing into a national project.
Thuthuka’s objective is to transform the demographics of the profession to reflect those of the country in terms of race and gender, and provide educational support to African learners and students for the benefit of the profession, while simultaneously helping to uplift communities. Therefore, SAICA prides itself in leading the chartered accountancy profession as a socially responsible driver of business and skills development by supporting and encouraging enterprise development initiatives.
SAICA Media Contact
Ms Karin Iten
Project Manager: Marketing and Communications
SAICA Nation Building Division
Tel: 011 621 6913
Ms Nwabisa Tsengiwe
Senior Executive: Marketing, Communication and PR
SAICA Nation Building Division
Tel: 011 621 6878