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A very necessary resource for school management teams

| September 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

Title: Oxford South African Dictionary of School Terminology
Authors: Clive Roos and Michael Wilter
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190441067
Reviewed by: Fiona de Villiers

Many schools join ISASA because they find themselves bewildered by the ever-changing and often overwhelming raft of legislation surrounding schools and schooling in South Africa.

Even though a school has a constitutional right to be independent, they must still abide by certain stateprescribed policies and prescriptions. And generally speaking, say authors Clive Roos and Michael Wilter, “In the years since 1994, schooling in South Africa has been a busy, changeable and contested terrain… it has been a confusing landscape for many”. Oxford University Press (OUP), in its usual innovative manner, has released a special kind of dictionary that will clear up any confusion and should reside, well-thumbed through, on every school administrator’s desk. Says Danielle Carls, senior project manager: Marketing, at OUP South Africa, the new Oxford South African Dictionary of School Terminology (the authors have years of experience of the South African schooling framework) “includes definitions for over 750 key terms and covers legislation, policies, regulations and case law up to June 2017, making it the most up-to-date reference tool of its kind”. Authors Roos and Wilter expand on what they’ve included:

• an alphabetic listing of more than 750 terms drawn from all the identified up-to-date national legislation, regulations and policy that are relevant to the school system

• information for each of the listed terms [that] includes a clear definition, sources, cross-references to related terms and explanatory usage notes where applicable

• case studies for 17 key legal actions, acknowledging the significant role that the courts (and in particular the Constitutional Court) have played in clarifying key school issues

• a variety of flow charts, tables and diagrams to help the user to navigate complex legal framework for schooling in South Africa.

Carls adds, “The Oxford South African Dictionary of School Terminology aims to demystify the landscape for the large number of people who interact with the South African schooling system – school governing boards, educators, school management teams, public officials, civil society, academics and even politicians – enabling them to think and act in an informed way”. This dictionary covers everything from the South African Schools Act, the bedrock piece of legislation that dictates how schools should operate in this country, to the Employment of Educators Act and everything in between. Starting at the beginning, I learned all about the Annual School Survey, which is: A self-raising survey completed by all principals of ordinary public schools and independent schools in March each year in all provinces and coordinated by the provincial education departments and the Department of Education. The survey collects aggregated data about schools, their learners and their teachers. The collected data is used for research purposes and to improve planning and decision-making by national and provincial government departments. Jumping ahead, I found useful information under the titles “School allocation budget” and “School funding” to do with the highly contentious issue of state subsidies that affects many schools, both public and independent, often negatively so. I also found some information with regard to land, another issue that confounds both prospective independent school founders and principals and researchers who know that there are not enough schools in South Africa, under the entry heading “Expropriation of land or certain rights in or over land (for school education)”: …taking ownership of land, or certain rights in or over land, by the member of the executive council (MEC) for Education in the relevant province. This taking over of land, or certain rights in or over land, has to be in the public interest and can only occur after following due process. Roos and Wilter will undoubtedly be hard at work for the foreseeable future updating existing pertinent information and capturing new data as it appears.

Category: Spring 2018

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