Community driven accountability for strong governance in education in South Africa


#LearnWithoutCorruption #YouthAgainstCorruption

The issues of corruption in South Africa are well known. Schools and the education system have not been spared. We see corrupt practices at every level of our education system. All the corruption we see takes critical resources away from the people and schools that need them most. This deepens the inequalities in our schools and stands in the way of our work to uphold the Constitutional right to education for all.

What is corruption?

Corruption is the abuse of resources or power which you are responsible for. It is when you use these for your own personal gain and not for what or who it is meant for.

Corruption can take place at all levels of the system – school, district, provincial and national level.

Why does this happen?

There are a lot of reasons why people get away with corruption. For example, corrupt deals are done in secret and important information is hidden. This lack of ‘transparency’ means that learners, parents, and SGB members do not have information on what the money in school budgets is meant to be used for, or on how the school’s money was spent, or on the contracts that schools and departments enter into with service providers and many other things.

Sometimes people know about the corruption but do not do anything about it because they think it is normal, feel they are helpless to stop it, they are afraid to speak out, or they do not know who to report it to.

What are we planning to do about it?

This project will work with 3000 young people in five provinces, to build their knowledge and abilities to prevent, identify, intervene in, and campaign on corrupt practices at school level.

It aims to build the capacity of 2700 school governing body members and empower them to effectively hold their principals, contracting parties, or each other accountable, and to put effective and transparent systems in place in their governance of schools.

It will encourage collaboration, engagement and advocacy with civil society and government, that is informed and led by learners and SGB members. The project will promote access to justice, provide legal advice and empowerment and strategically engage in possible legal interventions.

Who are the project partners?

  • Equal Education Law Centre

Equal Education Law Centre, a public interest litigation organisation with a staff of social justice lawyers using legal advocacy, movement and community lawyering and law and policy reform to achieve education justice.

  • Equal Education

Equal Education, a youth-led mass democratic movement of youth, parents, teachers and community members who use research, mobilisation and public action to empower young activists and ensure quality and equality in South African education.

  • The National Association of School Governing Bodies

The National Association of School Governing Bodies, the largest representative structure of SGBs in South Africa with a membership of over 5000 member schools in nine provinces.

What do we hope to achieve?

A reduction in the incidents of corruption in schools and in the education sector more broadly, as learners and SGB members are empowered to identify, report and act against corruption.

Project resources

  • Download and read our full pamphlet on Community driven accountability for strong governance in education in South Africa here.
  • Download and read our guide on the roles and responsibilities of school governing bodies here.
  • Download and read our pamphlet on understanding corruption in education here.