The Free State Department of Education has set the ball rolling for the 2018 school governing body (SGB) elections by launching the campaign on Tuesday, 19 September. The Free State MEC for Education, Tate Makgoe, launched the election campaign at the Albert Moroka Secondary School in Thaba Nchu. These elections of SGBs take place every three years. The next election is set to take place in March 2018. Howard Ndaba, spokesperson of the department, said the launch was very beneficial to parents and guardians, providing them the chance to familiarise themselves with the procedures of SGB elections. “The SGB has a very important role to play in the way schools are ma-naged.“Through the SGB, the South African Schools Act empowers communities to be actively involved in the welfare of schools located in their areas,” he said. “Governing bodies were created to advance the democratic transformation of the schooling system and to provide a platform for the active participation of school communities in the decentralised decision-making process.”Ndabana advised parents and guardians to look out for the notices in the five Free State districts. “These are the biggest elections after the national, provincial and local government elections. “Tate Makgoe has encouraged parents and guardians to actively participate in these elections,” said Ndaba. “The MEC urged parents to elect candidates with the relevant skills which will add value to the governing body and its schools, such as legal, administrative or accounting skills.” Composition of governing bodies for public schools: The membership of the governing body of a public school comprises the following members: elected members; the principal by virtue of his or her official capacity; and co-opted members. The elected members of the governing body referred to in subparagraph (1)(a) abovecomprise the following persons: Parents of learners at the school; teachers at the school; non-teaching members of staff; and learners in Gr. 8 or higher at the school drawn from the representative council of learners or nominated by the representative council of learners, if applicable. The number of parent members, teaching members, staff members who are not teachers, and learner members of a governing body must, depending on the type and grading of the school concerned, comply with schedule A to these guidelines.