Prior to the initiative in 1996, which ultimately led to the establishment of EMASA, there were several organisations in South Africa that had some sort of interest in education management e.g. The Education Association of South Africa (EASA) had several interest groups; one of which focused on education management. EASA at that time had 490 members, with interests across the whole spectrum of educational specialisations. Similarly, the Southern African Comparative and History of Educational Society (SACHES) founded in 1991 and with 70 paid-up members also had an education management interest group.
The only organisation with an exclusive focus on education management was the Institute for Education Management of South Africa (IEMSA). This organisation was developed with assistance from the South African Institute of Management (SAIM), and with guidance from the then Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration (CCEA), whose head office at the time was based in Armidalem, New South Wales, Australia. The IEMSA was based at the SAIM and immediately prior to the establishment of the Task Team on Education Management (1996) had developed a constitution and had established an executive committee. IEMSA was the South African affiliate of CCEA and attended the CCEAâ€™s conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1996. At this time, it had a membership of about 100, and had secured a grant towards its work, of 5000 pounds sterling from the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation.
However, with the establishment of the Task Team, which also examined the need for a national educational management association, it was decided to put IEMSA on ice, and the Commonwealth funds were held in trust by the Centre for Educational Policy Development, Evaluation and Monitoring (CEPD).
Under the auspices of the Task Team, a colloquium was held in Magaliesburg in August 1996 for representatives of South Africaâ€™s universities, technikons and colleges. At this colloquium, it was decided to establish a steering committee to make recommendations on the establishment of a (truly) national, professional association for those working in the field of education management.
The elected steering committee comprised Nana Makaula (University of Transkei: Chair), Prakash Singh (Vista University), Michael Thurlow (University of Natal and Task Team member), Keyson Mabunda (Technikon SA), Phillip van der Westhuizen (Potchefstroom University), and Vincent Landey (Cape Technikon). This committee met for the first time on 8 November 1996, in Cape Town and began work on conceptualizing a possible national association.
The Committee met again on 21 November and members of other interested national organisations joined the steering committee. They included Cecilia Moyo (South African Association for Academic Development), Johan Beckmann (South African Law and Policy Association/University of Pretoria), Yusuf Sayed (Southern African Comparative and History of Education Society/University of Western Cape), Tom Bisschoff (Education Association of South Africa/RAU), and Carol Coombe (Task Team member). This expanded committee continued to work on a concept document for a national association, and a possible constitution. The constitution adopted a provisional name for the association - The Educational Management Association of South Africa (EMASA).
A final meeting of the steering committee was held on 18 January 1997, at which the draft concept document and draft constitution were finalised. It was decided at this meeting that a founding meeting of EMASA would be held at the Holiday Inn Garden Court, near Johannesburg Airport, on Monday 17 March 1997.
This founding meeting was held and EMASA was born! The concept document and the constitution were adopted, and office bearers were elected. Nana Makaula was the first president.
Since the founding of EMASA in 1997, the association has not been able to increase its membership substantially to involve practitioners in the Education Management Development (EMD) field. EMASA has also not been able to increase its financial base so as to be able to profile the organisation and its members. EMASA has held annual conferences since 1997. These conferences have been widely attended by both local and international speakers.