Financial Management in Education in South Africa

Paperback
The South African government has been spending, on average, almost 22 per cent of the annual budget on the funding of public education since 1994. Every citizen's fundamental right to education is enshrined in chapter two of the South African Constitution. These two facts are indicative of the priority that is given to providing quality education through a system of public schools in this country. However, despite an impressive list of achievements attesting to improvements in public education, there is a growing concern about the quality of the output of the South African education system and, along with that, an insistence on accountability regarding the return on investment in education. Financial management in education in South Africa enters this debate by providing fundamental content on which arguments are based, but then proceeds to lead critical discussions on different dimensions to highlight different perspectives on issues related to the funding of education and the concurrent obligations of creating infrastructure and providing quality education to every learner in the public school system. This book addresses the latest developments in the field of financial management in South African public education from both a legal and a financial perspective. It starts by analysing the policy debate on the funding of public services (including education) from public funds and balancing reality with the ideal of free public education. It then enters into a discussion of the legal framework within which the funding of public education takes place, emphasising the balance between rights, obligations (duties), accountability and liability. Having set the scene, the book then proceeds to place the management of finances in the public school sector into perspective by looking at the practicalities involved in the management of funds and other assets, touching on the budgeting process, management of the budget and the keeping of immaculate records for auditing purposes. Entrepreneurship is introduced as an answer to the imperative of Section 36 of the South African Schools Act, imposed on school governing bodies to generate additional funds to augment the state's contribution towards the operational costs of public schools. This necessitates that the debate be extended to include project management as an essential field of study also to be covered in the discussions. The debate is then raised a level by looking at the role of strategic management skills and the economics of education at micro, meso and macro levels in the education system. The book concludes by taking a look at litigation in the US related to financial management in education, and reflecting on what the outcomes of such litigation may imply for the funding of education in South Africa.