n Journal of Educational Studies - The position of principals in school financial management : a South African perspective

Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1680-7456



The South African Schools Act of 1996 prescribes how schools should manage its funds. It clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the governing body and the principal, who are jointly responsible for the schools' finances thereby making them accountable to the parents and communities they serve. The core duties and responsibilities of the principal are also clearly set out in the Employment of Educators Act of 1998 and Education Laws Amendment Act of 2007. In terms of financial matters, the Employment of Educators Act explicitly defines that the principal should keep proper school accounts and records. However, in the case of Schoonbee and others v Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Education, the Judge emphatically stated that the principal, by virtue of his/her position, is responsible for the professional management of the school, and cannot be expected to fulfill the functions of an accounting officer. The Schools Act attempts to protect the rights of principals and directs them to facilitate, support and assist governing bodies in the execution of its statutory functions relating to assets, liabilities, property and financial management of the school. In this paper, the position of principals in school financial management will be examined. Principals together with the governing body are required to act within the parameters of the financial policy and relevant legislation to ensure that the school's finances are managed effectively and efficiently.

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