A few weeks ago, the minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, delivered the latest set of matric results. The release of the results represents the end of a 12-year journey for pupils, one that requires the commitment and discipline of pupils, teachers, parents and the community at large. Given the size of the basic education system - it accommodates 12-million pupils at a time - its management has to be one of the most important tasks for the government and the country at large. The role of schools in society goes beyond the provision of teaching and learning; schools represent a social asset characterised by a proximity to communities that few other public resources can replicate. They are an asset whose ability to transform the immediate community has significant long-term benefits for society. This proximity has its pitfalls. As a social asset located at the centre of each community, schools are also seen as something that can be interrupted in order to attract the attentio...

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