Farm Schools: briefing

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


14 June 2000

Documents handed out:
Conference on Farm Schools - Synthesis Report (e-mail if required)
Notes on Agreements Required for Public Schools on Private Property (see Appendix 1)
Conference on Farm Schools - A Report on Conference Outcomes
Providing Quality Education in Schools on Commercial Farms
(See Appendix 2)

Chairperson: Mr DM Kgware

The Department gave a briefing on latest developments regarding farm schools. Section 14 of the South African Schools Act provides that a public school may be provided on private property only in terms of an agreement between the MEC for Education in a province and the owner of that property. Where the two parties fail to reach an agreement, the Act provides for expropriation of the particular portion of the land on which the school has to be built or real rights thereto. The Minister has said that December 2000 has been laid as the deadline for all provinces to conclude the agreements.

Advocate Boshoff, from the Department, gave a brief background and legal framework to the agreements of farm schools. He stated that the property on which farm schools are situated does not belong to the Education Department but owned by private individuals. It is necessary in this regard to balance the rights and interests of the owner with those of the pupils.

Section 14 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (SASA) provides that agreements have to be reached between Education MECs and owners of the property on which a school is situated in the interest of, and to benefit, the public school. The Act had provided for regulations to be drawn to assist the process. These regulations were published in December 1997 providing for minimum requirements of an agreement between the MEC and the owner of private property on which a public school is provided. The pro forma agreement in the regulations was widely consulted with farmer trade unions.

A key issue in section 14 is provision for legal certainty of public schools on private property, which has always been neglected, and without facilities. The agreements bring about certainty not only regarding who provides resources but who is responsible for the financial liabilities of a public school on private property. The financial liabilities of public schools must be met in accordance with the National Norms and Standards for School Funding. Provincial departments are obliged to ensure that public funds are utilised in an effective and efficient manner. Provincial authorities have to determine whether a need exists for a school in the area considering the availability of school places in the area, availability and cost of transport, and operational needs of the department.

The legislation appreciates circumstances where an agreement cannot be reached. An alternative is provided in section 58 for expropriation land or real rights in the private property concerned. A specific process has to be followed such as a clear description of the portion of the property on which a public school is to be situated, giving interested parties opportunity to make submissions, etc. This can be a very powerful tool in the hands of provinces.

The Minister of Education has decided that emphasis should be placed on agreements. These have to be finalised by the end of this year. The benefit of reaching agreements with farmers has to be stressed in that farmers can have a say in the maintenance of the property. Also there is the consideration of security.

Dr Shepherd of the Department of Education read the Synthesis Report: Update on Present Situation in Provinces with regard to Farm Schools. [See appendix]

Q.) Mr NM Raju (DP - Kwazulu-Natal) wanted to know if all provinces had been informed of the December deadline for concluding agreements.

Q.) Mr Raju asked if it means that all farmers in KwaZulu Natal are members of KWANALU if a single agreement is to be reached with members of this organisation?

A.) Mr Boshoff said there is no doubt that the Act provides for an agreement to be signed with each and every farmer. But it has been decided to start with the KWANALU farmers to get the process going.

Q.) Mr JO Tlhagale (UCDP- North West) wanted to know what is the expected community involvement and participation in the schools in view of the fact that they earn very little money. Will government subsidise these schools to a larger extent than others?

A.) Mr Boshoff said lack of financial support is very important and the norms agreement is trying to address the issue by providing that schools should get the bulk of funding from provinces.

Q.) Mr J Mkhaliphi (ANC -Mpumalanga) wanted to know what would be the strength of the signed agreements in the event of majority of parents being evicted from the farms.

A.) Mr Boshoff said the schools depend on the number of learners in the area. The question to be asked by provincial authorities is whether there is a need for a school in the area. If there is a need for a public school on private property, it will be provided for the public as a whole, not merely for farm workers.

Q.) Mr Mkhaliphi said he would like to view the Department as being in the business of supplying stable education. What does it do if its "customers" are destabilised by the person who rents the property for such education.

A.) Mr Boshoff said the agreement focuses on schools and securing property for the schools. Even people outside the farm community have a right to attend the school since it is a public school. Even where a farmer evicts farm workers that will not play a crucial role in deciding the need. Where a farmer takes action against workers, the Department cannot do anything. But where access to the school is disturbed then education authorities have a responsibility to act.

Q.) Mr Mkhaliphi expressed concern that the Department might not be able to afford the agreements if one looks at the figure of R3500 per unit. He asked if the Department considers this figure fair.

A.) Mr Boshoff said it is for each province to negotiate the cost of rental according to its needs. For instance, the agreement might provide that the owner of the property shall be responsible for the maintenance and that improvement of the property is included in the amount for rentals. Some farmers have provided agreements free of charge in the past and the Department would like to build on that spirit in concluding the agreements.

Q.) Mr Raju asked what is meant by a farm school. His understanding is that these were meant only as an interim provision to allow for introductory classes.

A.) A farm school is a concept used in the popular sense. What is there is a public school on private property where the owner of such property is not the state. Lower grades usually form the basis of farm schools.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1:

A. Introduction
The South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No. 84 of 1996) (SASA) was drafted to provide for the owner of private property on which a school is situated to enter into an agreement with the State (MEC) who has the responsibility to provide (deliver) education in a province. The right to basic and further education and the right to property are both fundamental rights which are protected by the parties involved through the agreement required in terms of section 14 of SASA. Reaching consensus on the future of such a school by these key role players is not only the cheapest option, but gives effect to the one cornerstone of SASA, namely, the principle of partnership. If consensus cannot be reached for whatever reason, the MEC has no other option but to consider the expropriation of the portion of land on which the school is situated or to expropriate the right to use the property for a specific time (e.g. ten years or as long as school exists).

B. Nature and Status of Agreement
Section 14 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No. 84 of 1996) (SASA) determines that a public school may be provided on private property only in terms of an agreement between the MEC responsible for education and the owner of the private property.

After due consultation with the Council of Education Ministers, the Minister published regulations relating to the minimum requirements of an agreement between the MEC and the owner of a private property on which a public school is provided. The regulations were published in Government Gazette No. 18566, dated 19 December 1997. A copy of the regulations is attached as Annexure 1.

The agreement must be consistent with SASA and in particular must provide for:

- the provision of education and the performance of the normal functions of a public school;
- governance of the school, including the relationship between the governing body of the school and the owner of the property;
- access by all interested parties to the property on which the school is located;
- security of occupation and use of the property by the school;
- maintenance and improvement of school buildings and the property on which the school is located, and the supply of necessary services; and
- protection of the owner's rights in respect of the property occupied, affected or used by the school.

The regulations further require that:

- the agreements which existed between the State and the owner prior to 1 January 1997 remain in force to the extent that they are consistent with the Act, and will be amended by the agreement contemplated in section 14;
- the governing body of the school must make a written submission in terms of the proposed agreement and such recommendation must be taken into account by the parties to the agreement in terms of section 14;
- the agreement and all amendments must be in writing and signed by both parties; and
- the agreement must remain valid as long as the school exists.

The pro forma agreement attached to the regulations serves as a guideline to provinces. Provinces are not bound by the pro forma agreement. They are, however, bound by the minimum requirements set out in the regulations.

The financial liability of a public school on private property must be clearly addressed in this agreement and the person or authority who will be financially liable must be identified. The financial liabilities for which public schools are responsible must be met in accordance with the National Norms and Standards for School Funding.

C. Educational Need for Such a School
Provincial departments have an obligation to ensure that public funds are utilised in an efficient and effective manner. There is an obligation on provincial authorities to determine whether there is a need for a school in the area, taking into account:

- the availability of school places in the area;
- the issue and cost of transport; and
- the operational needs of the department.

A decision to amalgamate the school with another on a public property must be considered. The cost pertaining to:

- rentals;
- maintenance of buildings; and
- class sizes in relation to educator numbers and their salary costs

will also play an important role. If the decision is made to close or merge schools, then the provisions of SASA must be complied with.

D. Expropriation of the portion of land on which a school is situated
An important mechanism to consider is that of expropriation. Only that portion of the land on which a school is situated could be expropriated (and not a whole farm, for example). As farm schools are situated on agricultural land, it is fairly cheap to purchase the land on which farm schools are located. The provisions of SASA expedite the normal process of expropriation in terms of the Expropriation Act.

It requires:

(a) notice of the intention to expropriate in a provincial gazette, which must:
identify the land or real right;
give interested parties an opportunity to make written submissions within 30 days; and
- invite negotiation on the process to determine appropriate compensation;
- the MEC to consider such submission; and
- the MEC to give a further notice that the property has been expropriated.

It is important to note that the Act does not require compensation to be determined or paid before expropriation may take place.

Any claim for compensation is dealt with in terms of the principles of the Constitution, namely:

- the current use of the property;
- the history of the acquisition and use of the property;
- the market value;
- the extent of direct state investment in and subsidising of the acquisition, and - beneficial capital improvement of the property; and
- the purpose of the expropriation.

The MEC must obtain a detailed description of the property from a Land Surveyor and identify the real rights he or she intends to expropriate in terms of section 58. These must form a part of the notices referred to in paragraph 8(a) and (c).

E. Expropriation of real rights (Right to use the property)
An application to obtain a detailed description by a Land Surveyor may also include a separation of title deeds.

The possibility to expropriate a right to use school property (usufruct) must also be explored. Section 14 provides that, "subject to the Act", a public school may be provided on private property only in terms of an agreement. Section 58 gives authority to expropriate real rights in or over land for purposes relating to school education, which include the right to use. It seems that there might be different interpretations of how section 14 limits the registration of a right of use. In order to avoid ambiguities, it may be useful to amend section 14(1) to make it clear that the expropriation of a right to use (usufruct) is a definite option available to MECs.

Appendix 2
A Conference on Farm Schools
13 May 2000

A Report on Conference Outcomes

Prepared by Education Foundation

Funded by USAID.

A Conference on Farm Schools: 13 May 2000
Papers presented by conference delegates are to be found in the conference files issued to participants. This report only covers the outcomes of the four breakaway workshop groups. The aim of these workshops is to clarify the problem areas, make recommendations on possible actions and propose alternate strategies of ensuring the viability of farm schools.

Background information
Historically farm schools have faced particular problems because of their location on private (commercial farm) land. The South African Schools Act (1996) stipulated that farm schools would be included in the public sector. This change would be effected by an agreement between the MECs and the owners on whose property schools were located. The agreement would cover the roles and responsibilities of the state and the property owner relating to the management of the schools and school improvement programmes and access to schools. To date only about 10% of agreements have been signed. This has resulted in a situation where the roles and responsibilities of farmers towards schools on their properties remain unclear. The level of frustration of all parties is high as the interests of the school community, the department of education and the farmers are not being met.

The aim of this workshop is to clarify the problem areas, make recommendations on possible actions and propose alternate strategies of ensuring the viability of schools.

Expected Outcomes
· Clarification of issues concerning the roles and responsibilities of different parties in managing and governing farm schools.

· Identification of problem areas relating to the process of signing agreement.

· Consensus on the issues to be included in the agreement.

· Recommendations to expedite the signing of agreements.

· A realistic timeframe for signing agreements.

Clarification of issues concerning the roles and responsibilities of different parties in managing and governing farm schools.

This is a workshop on public schools on private property - this includes church schools, mine schools, etc. Religious schools fall under Section 57 SASA 1996. Church schools differ from farm schools on the issue of inclusion of religious instruction in the curriculum.

Who are responsible parties?
· Parents/SGB
· Farmers and farmer unions
· The Departments/MECs

Roles of these parties
Overall goals of these parties should include:
1.A common goal to provide quality education to farm learners.
2.A pooling of effort to improve educational and physical resourcing levels in farm schools.

The roles of the specific parties are:

· School Governing Bodies (SGBs)
These bodies must use the school funding norms to the benefit of the school. If the farmer has provided an arrangement to support the school and is willing to carry on doing so, this must be incorporated into the legal agreement. The SGB must play a monitoring role in the implementation of the legal agreement. A suggestion is that there should be a codicil to the legal agreement covering farm rules governing the interaction of role-players involved in the school. The property owner can be co-opted onto the SGB but this proposal must come from the governing body.

· Farmers and farmer unions:
The farmer unions can provide help in identifying farm owners where farm schools are located. The unions' role is to develop the broad agreement on the legal issues, which will then be refined to the specific needs of the individual farmer. The leadership needs to inculcate a spirit of uniformity across farmers. They also need to play a facilitation role in assisting the departments in sorting out problems.

· Departments:
They need to play a proactive role in facilitating and expediting the legal processes. A one on one interaction with farmers on concluding these agreements is needed. The national Department has targeted through norms and standards the farm schools. They receive the largest amounts of non-personnel budgets relative to other schools because the norms target poor schools.

· Identification of problem areas relating to the process of signing agreements.

These are:
· Problems with identifying farm owners where there are farm schools. It was suggested that a legal search of owner of corporate body to which the farm belongs can be done.

· Problems where the school has been donated in the past but the present owner is denying the donation.

· Lack of capacity and person-power on the part of the departments to spearhead further progress on signing agreements.

· Difficulty with working with farmers one-on-one is that this negates the role of farmers unions

· A problem is that individual farmers are negotiating different rental costs for similar assets.

· Farmers are demanding market-related rentals but it was argued by provincial Departments that the market value would be virtual nil in most cases.

· Financial constraints of departments in meeting these costs of the rental agreements. In terms of Financial Management Act Heads of Departments cannot sign these agreements unless they can fund them.

· The majority of farmers belong to the unions but there are a few who are not and therefore fall outside of general agreements made.

· Lack of communication between stakeholders is a major challenge.

· Consensus on the issues to be included in the agreement.

· The focus is on the use of the land and not on the provision of services.

· Rent will be for payment for the use of land and the buildings. However maintenance and improvements will be carried by departmental budgets. This should therefore affect the kind of rentals that are negotiated by farmers and the unions.
· Recommendations

· Farm unions can play an important role in helping the Department in facilitating agreements e.g. coming up with a guiding rental fee, sorting out blockages. The manner in which farmers are approached needs to be changed.

· A compromise could be the Department offering greater provision of services and enhancement of facilities and instead pay a nominal rental fee. A proposal was made by the national Department to pay nominal fee of R100 per school.

· The farmer union proposed a nominal rental per classroom - possibly R150 per classroom.

· The national Department to take up a co-ordinating role in facilitating further processes on expediting legal agreements. It will be on the request of provincial departments and the agricultural unions.

· Church schools need to be included in further processes on formalising agreements.

· Provincial departments need to specifically improve the capacity of their personnel to support this process.

· Realistic Timeframe for signing agreements

· The Minister has given six months timeframe. All agreements should be signed by December 2000.

· KwaZulu Natal Dept says they are working towards completing the agreements by 2002.

Background information
There are significant differences in the learning environment in farm schools compared to all other schools in the public sector. Some of the most important of these are:

· Schools are isolated from other schools and are often far from towns.

· Schools tend to be small, having fewer than 100 learners, and are generally served by one or two educators.

· The physical structure of many schools is poor, and the majority do not have basic services and facilities.

· Often grade levels offered at a school do not conform to the regular phases of the school period.

· Few schools offer classes beyond grade 7.

· Learning materials are poorly provided and virtually no schools have libraries or specialised classrooms for science or home economies.

· Many learners walk long distances to school and travel subsidies, if provided at all, are limited.

· Teachers either live on the farms or have to travel from a town to school at their own expense;

· Professional development opportunities for educators are limited, owing to the remoteness of the schools;

· In-service courses may not deal with the particular conditions in farm schools, such as managing small schools or teaching multi-grade classes. These difficulties pose particular challenges to educators and learners.

Expected Outcomes
· Greater understanding of the educational challenges facing the farm
school community.

· Identification of key problem areas for immediate attention.

· Recommendations to improve the conditions of service for farm school educators.

· Consideration of possible incentives for "hardship posts" such as posts at farm schools.

· Strategies to improve transport to schools for educators and learners.

· Suggestions for improving access to (appropriate) professional development programmes for farm school educators.

· Strategies to facilitate support for farm schools from neighbouring schools.

· Strategies to provide improved teaching and learning resources to schools.

· Teacher support systems need to be developed and sustained. These need to include role players such as SGBs, the farmers, the educator unions and even taxi associations.

· Schools need to be clustered on the basis of need using good educators as model teachers to help develop other educators1

· Research, in particular that on multigrade teaching and management of small schools, needs to be disseminated more widely among farm schools.

· Recognition needs to be given to the funding crisis facing departments, however, provision must be made to specifically target farm schools.

· There needs to more creative involvement of NGO's in accessing additional resources for farm schools.

· Information systems need to be improved on farm schools so that more effective support can be given by departments.

· Strategies to improving Learner Support on Farm Schools

· Recognition must be given to the vulnerability of children with respect to hunger, transport, abuse and access to schools. A suggestion is to rethink some of the School Funding norms line expenditures to include feeding some of the really poor (and hungry) children.

· There needs to be better integration with other departments in working together as a social cluster.

· A duty of the school governing body is to ensure that the child is cared for and protected, in particular in terms of abuse and health.

· Rural School Development Strategy

· A strategy to be developed by provincial education departments and co-ordinated by the national Department of Education was proposed. It was suggested that both provinces and national allocated dedicated officials to implement this strategy.

Background information
Recent surveys have illustrated that farm schools are amongst the most poorly provided for in South Africa in terms of infrastructure and the provision of basic facilities and services. As a result many farm schools do not provide a hygienic or safe environment.

Limited funds are only one reason for this situation. In many instances the location of schools on private farming land has meant that improving school facilities has been secondary to farming operations.

Planning and implementing school improvement programmes will have to take account of the location of schools on farms, particularly where difficulties are likely to emerge. For example, control over the provision of water to schools has often been contentious because of the scarce supply of water on many farms.

Today our education system opens up many partnerships and networking possibilities between farm schools, other educational institutions and private sector organisations. This provides us with new opportunities to expand and enhance educational provision on farms.

Expected Outcomes
· Clarification of issues relevant to improving the infrastructure and provision of facilities and services at farm schools.

· Understanding problem areas relating to the roles and responsibilities of various parties in the provision of basic facilities and services.

· Recommendations for the national and provincial departments and district offices regarding planning guidelines and implementation actions.

· Suggestions and alternative strategies to facilitate the improvement of the school environment.

· Suggestions regarding the support mechanisms needed by SGBs to fulfill their roles with respect to school improvement.

· Recommendations on the role of the broader school community in school improvement programmes.

· Clarification of issues relevant to improving the infrastructure and provision of facilities and services at farm schools

· Provincial departments do not have budgets for massive improvements. There is a request that the national Department needs to raise funds to inject a once-off payment into provincial coffers to address backlogs in infrastructure.

· There is a need for a long-term plan for infrastructure improvements. This needs to be integrated with other sectoral infrastructural developments, such as water, power and other services.

· Suggestions and alternative strategies to facilitate the improvement of the school environment.

· The spatial location of farm schools on farms is sometimes problematic, as learner/community access is limited often for practical reasons. This also affects the practicality of expropriation. The spatial location of farm schools needs to take into account improvements in planning school clusters and learner/community access.

· Understanding problem areas relating to the roles and responsibilities of various parties in the provision of basic facilities and services.

· Unless the state owns the land infrastructure development is problematic for a number of reasons.

· There needs to be greater co-ordination of resources such as the Development Bank and the Land Bank initiatives in this area. If the state owns the land, it is possible for it to borrow money from the Development Bank for infrastructure development.

· Public-private partnerships are needed to improve school infrastructure.

· There needs to be public recognition and/or articulation of department1s appreciation of farmers who have contributed to education provision beyond normal expectations.

· There needs to be clear understanding of roles and responsibilities of both farmers and departments.

· Recommendations for the national and provincial departments regarding planning guidelines and implementation actions.

· Expropriation of the land is not recommended as it has the disadvantage that the farmer is cut out of the equation as a partner. Further the costs could be prohibitive. There is a need to determine the long-term sustainability of a school before infrastructure investments are made. Current research indicates that urbanisation will accelerate and this will have implications for infrastructure investments.

· Rentals should be low so that more money is channelled into infrastructure maintenance.

· Because of the migratory/transitory nature of farm schools it was recommended that rentals rather than taking ownership of the land be considered by the Department of Education. On the other hand, this limits access to bank loans by the Department. A cost analysis needs to undertaken weighing up the two options.

· International experiences on how farm schools are supported and provided for needs to be investigated.

· Lack of basic services such as water and sanitation on farm schools should be addressed urgently.

Background information
Perhaps the changes introduced by the SASA on school governance are most profound that farm schools given that, until 1996, farmers played a major role in managing school affairs. Parents, as employees of farmers, may need specialised training to fulfil their responsibilities.

SGBS are expected to participate in negotiations concerning the terms of the legal agreement between the MECs and the farmers. But the support they require in fulfilling this role has not yet been considered.

The fact that parents of farm school learners are not likely to be functionally literate created significant challenges in the training of SQB members. This applies to both SGBs and the structures to be established to govern adult public centres.
Another challenge for SGBs at farm schools is financing school development projects. Generally wages are low, resulting in high levels of poverty amongst farm workers.

Expected Outcomes
· An understanding of problem areas facing farm schools and how these impinge on the roles and responsibilities of SGBs.

· Recommendations on the training programmes for farm school governing bodies.

· Suggestions on how farmers and the broader community can facilitate school development.

· Challenge presented by roles and responsibilities between farm owners and other stakeholders.

· The South African Schools Act's (SASA) definition of SGBs states that only parents of learners in the school have voting rights. The Act does not exclude farmers from being co-opted. In one province, this strategy is actively encouraged as land-owners want to participate as decision-makers in the school governing bodies. A concern is that the farmer is not the decision-maker but part of a democratic process of decision-making. A further concern was how can the Act facilitate membership of other stakeholders.
· A key concern for farmers is security from crime. The SGBs need to recognise this concern and have open communication with the farmer on this issue, particularly with respect to convening meetings on farm property that involves externally based community members.
· A further concern is the safety of learners commuting to farm schools. Both the SGB and the farmer need to acknowledge this issue and find creative solutions to it. Possible partners in this issue are the police and clinics.

· Access to farm schools by learners outside of the farm is dependent on the relationship of the farmer, the 5GB and other stakeholders.
· Farmers can play a very positive role in supporting school principals, particularly with regard to resourcing and infrastructure issues. Farmers have access to basic resources like telephones, faxes and sometimes photocopiers. In a spirit of co-operation, these could be used to support farm school administration, learning and teaching.
· Often farm schools are neglected by district officials. Communication between district officials, farmers and school principals needs to be opened up. Farmers can put pressure on districts to provide support to farm schools.
· It is proposed that SASA be amended to identify farmers a bridge between parent farm workers and education authorities.

District officials
· There is a need for greater support and visits by districts officials to ensure better communication and school management accountability than is the case currently in most provinces. There is a need for districts to live up to the state's contractual obligation to provide education to learners on farm schools.
· District officials should sit on SGB meetings and develop and submit quarterly reports to provincial head office that are ratified by stakeholders. Stakeholders need to access to these reports.
· District officials need to be aware that although the School Funding Norms are intended to redress disparity of resources across schools, sometimes the equity is not achieved and additional targeting of resources needs to be brought to the attention of the head office.

· Recommendations on training programmes for farm school governing bodies.

· There is a need to recognise low literacy of farm workers and develop programmes to address this. Farm school SGBs require more extensive training than other SGBs and this must include some basic ABET instruction to counter illiteracy.
· Official communication to farm school SGBs needs to be in at least two languages, one of which ought to be the predominant mother-tongue of the community.
· The migratory/transitory nature of farm workers jobs needs to be recognised. This often leaves SGBs dysfunctional. The district officials need to facilitate this process and ensure that schools have functioning governing bodies. This may mean more energy and effort directed at enskilling farm worker parents than in normal schools.
· It is recognised that farm schools are very isolated and therefore should be clustered to maximise resource use. Centres or schools could be identified where the department could place resources, which could be shared.
· Educator development programmes should not disrupt the school programmes or interrupt teaching and learning if possible.

· Recommendation on financing Farm Schools

· Farm schools face problems in fund raising both because of the low socio-economic of farm workers and access of the broader community to fund-raising events on farm property.
Farm schools need additional weighting in provincial targeting of resources as currently calculated by the school funding norms. The school funding norms drivers need to be re-prioritised so that farm schools are not disadvantaged because of their low learner numbers.

Identified Gaps not addressed by the Conference
1.Retention of educators in farm schools through incentives measures.
2.Strategies of owning farm schools by the state
3.Integration of ex-white rural schools with largely black farm schools.

It was noted that this conference is not only dealing with pre-1994 educational deficits facing farm schools but also post-1994 backlogs. This workshop is a concerted effort to bring together the responsible stakeholders
to agree on the appropriate strategy to deal with the highly disadvantaged situation farm schools currently find themselves. It is recognised that this is not a once-off event but part of an ongoing process. Symbolic mechanisms are needed to be established that facilitate legal agreements.

Key proposals that have emanated from this conference are:
1.All legal agreements be signed by December 2000.
2.A rural school development strategy be developed that recognises the specificity of rural schools. A comprehensive and integrated strategy will need to informed by better data.
3.National and provincial fora on farm and rural schools be established to act as clearing houses to deal with the mechanisms and blockages impacting on this sector of schools. Partnerships with stakeholders are critical as the way forward will build on goodwill.


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