Re-Election of School Management Committee Yields Results

February 16, 2023 11:19 am

Al Salaam Primary School is one of the government primary schools in Melut, Upper Nile State, which was started in the year 2015. The school has received support from Girls Education South Sudan (GESS) project since 2019.

In 2019 up to 2021, the school had a Parents’ and Teachers’ Association (PTA) and a School Management Committee (SMC – a school governing body).

“School governing bodies are a very essential unit in the management and running of a school. These are the most pivotal bodies responsible for the day-to-today running of schools, and without them, schools cannot operate well,” Andabati Omar, Teaching and Learning Materials Coordinator Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS).

As part of GESS’ Quality Education  component, the programme provides support to school governing bodies across South Sudan. These include the School Management Committees (SMCs) for primary schools and the Boards of Governors (BoGs) for secondary schools. The SMCs and BoGs are a variation of the traditional parent-teacher association to include the school head girl and head boy, as well as parent representatives, a representative for disability inclusion, community members, the head teacher, and deputy head teacher. These committees are usually made up of 13 members.

GESS trains the school governing bodies to increase their capacity. The areas of training and responsibilities of these bodies include:

  • Carrying out a needs assessment in schools
  • Identifying development priorities
  • How to compile a school development plan
  • Mobilising additional funds to implement the school development plan
    Carrying out school improvement and school development activities
  • Monitoring learners’ attendance
  • Monitoring teachers’ attendance

The members of Al Salaam Primary School were reported to be very inactive. The Head Teacher was reported to be making all decisions by himself due to the lack of support from the SMC.

The enrolment was high when the school started in 2019 but dropped in 2020 due to poor management. Enrolment started to grow in 2021 and now sits at an impressive 1,143 learners, due to the hard work of the new, and active, SMC members.

S/N Year Male Learners Female Learners Total Learners
1 2019 496 312 808
2 2020 300 328 628
3 2021 498 487 985
4 2022 661 482 1,143


Between 2019 to 2021, the SMC members were not very active. The members were nominated by the Head Teacher and they didn’t know their roles and responsibilities,. Meetings were often cancelled or poorly attended. Meanwhile, he was was making all decisions by himself. The head teacher used to handle all the assets and finances, this made the work very difficult and even brought a lot of suspicion from the community about the resources and assets that they were providing in kind for the school. During the GESS cash transfer payment process, only the Head Teacher was present; the SMC members were not invited to witness the activity and to serve as an accountability mechanism.

The school did not receive capitation grants for 2019 as it did not meet all the requirements for approval because the SMC members were not active and did not complete the documents necessary in order to qualify.

In early 2022, the GESS Schools Officer had a discussion with the Head Teacher about the functioning of the SMC. The Head Teacher reported that the SMC members were not very active. The School Officer suggested that they plan to elect new SMC members. Elections were held and a retired teacher was elected as the Chairperson of the SMC.

Before the elections, the School Officer trained the members on module 1 of the school governance training kit (the election of SMC process). After covering modules 2 and 3; (‘The roles and responsibilities of the SMC’ and ‘What is a good school?’, ‘Who is responsible for improving schools?’ and ’Why participation in school improvement is important), the SMC members, through their Chairperson made a commitment of improving the school environment as the school had few old latrines and the school buildings were old, some classes leaking and were looking dirty. The SMC trainings are regular school based trainings covering a total of seven modules delivered for each school.

The new Chairperson of the SMC immediately mobilised his members for a meeting and during the meeting, they agreed to submit a proposal to the County Commissioner for funding from the Community Development Fund (CDF). Their proposal was approved and they were given the fund. With the funding, the SMC;

  • Renovated 2 latrines blocks with 6 stances each totalling to 12 stances
  • Renovated the schools by removing leaking iron sheets and replacing them with new ones
  • Painted the school building which were looking dirty
  • Carried out community mobilisation to increase enrolment in the schools.
    As a result of the community mobilisation and improvement of the learning environment, this year, the school managed to attract 1,143 (661M 482F) learners. The SMC Chairperson promised to improve the learning quality in the school. “This school was not well managed in the past. I used to hear that when a member of the SMC questions the head teacher, that member would be immediately removed”. Now Mr. Head Teacher, you have heard from the staff of GESS that the SMC members should participate fully in the improvement of the School”. “Let us work together to improve the quality of learning in the school just as we have started”. “As a teacher, I will only be happy if learning in this school is improved”. Concluded Mr. Chan Ador the New SMC chairman.

One thing we have learned from the election of the SMC is that if a school elects a very strong committed retired teachers like the new SMC chairman of AL Salaam Primary School, the school is likely to benefit more from the SMC body.

Read more about our work here. Girls’ Education South Sudan – Transform the lives of a generation of children in South Sudan through education (



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