The oversight functions of school governing bodies in the management of budgets

Junaid King, Raj Mestry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 (RSA, 1996) heralded a shift in decision-making powers through decentralising school governance from the state to local communities. One of the primary functions of school governing bodies (SGBs) is to manage school finances. It is imperative for SGBs to design and implement irrefutable finance policies that clearly and unambiguously spell out specific structures and processes by applying relevant legislation and regulations enforced by the Ministry of Education. Using a generic qualitative approach within an interpretivist paradigm, this paper accentuates the oversight functions of SGBs to manage budgets effectively and efficiently. This research was grounded in a social constructivist paradigm and data were collected by way of semi-structured interviews and document analysis. Findings revealed that many SGBs place very little importance on the oversight functions of budgets which usually result in the mismanagement of school funds. This is reflected in poor finance policy formulation and implementation, and the absence of operational mechanisms (e.g. budget variance analysis) to curb wasteful and fruitless expenditure. Furthermore, challenges associated with the non-compliance of a finance policy and the failure of SGBs to take timely corrective action exasperate the problems of poor financial management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-193
Number of pages17
JournalPerspectives in Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • budget
  • budget control
  • budget monitoring
  • finance policy
  • financial management
  • oversight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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