Six regional branches were identified from the onset as it was probably seen as the most practical and effective way to ensure a wider membership interest and activity. They were:
- Northern Transvaal (including Venda, Lebowa, Kwandebele, Kangwane and Gazankulu);
- Southern Transvaal;
- Eastern Transvaal and the Orange Free State (including Bophuthatswana and Qwa Qwa);
- Natal (Incl. KwaZulu);
- Eastern Cape (Incl. Transkei and Ciskei); and
- Western Cape, Northern Cape and South West Africa/Namibia.
Exactly how the young SASHT envisaged these branches to operate is uncertain. This initiative started to wane somewhere along the line, with the result that the request had to be explored once again after a general meeting discussion.
A difficulty perceived from the first conference in 1988 at the University of Stellenbosch was how to involve primary and secondary educators from other provinces in subject/discipline development and knowledge exchange opportunities like these. Eventually SASHT conferences mainly operated as an opportunity for educators from a specific SASHT branch to attend, although a very low percentage from other branches always participated. Financial difficulties, and the original time of year at which conferences were held (such as the US conference that was held at the end of January), were burdens and not ideally suited to the needs of teachers but rather those of their tertiary colleagues.
Structure Related to Constitutional Issues
Some decisions that were identified in sources:
- The chairperson could originally be nominated for four years The executive members should be domiciled close to each other. The more executive nominations were proposed from all over the country the more difficult (financially and communication-wise) it became to have proper meetings in person on a regular basis. The availability of email, SMS and Internet opportunities removed some obstacles but not all, as some SASHT members (rural and urban) still only operate on snail mail addresses.
- Conferences would be held bi-annually, and the executive elected for two years (from conference to conference).
- According to the Constitution of the SASHT Section 3, p. 1, the official languages are English and Afrikaans.
- Membership fees started at R15 per annum in 1986 and by 2006–2007 the fees amounted to R120 (theoretically a growth of an average of R10 per annum).
- In 1996 the language accessibility of the SASHT was discussed. At a general meeting in 1998 (in Cape Town) it was decided that in future the general SASHT meeting would be conducted only in English. In a sense this arrangement also spontaneously became the protocol since then, without any specific voting or decision making in this regard.
After 2000, the SASHT constitution “in its absentia” (or what was spontaneously known as the SASHT’s constitutional way of doing) was in many ways not followed or adapted. Changes essential for survival were made from time to time without consultation or consideration of a specific Constitution. The need for a newly developed Constitution was discussed during the September 2006 conference. A proposal was discussed in 2007 and formally accepted in 2008.
Recruitment and the problems of recruitment were always on the agenda of general meetings. Eventually, the success of recruitment very much lay in the hands of the secretary or treasurer who had to market the association among potential members and remind existing members to continue their membership. With a very low working budget (R15 per member, and, by 1998, R20) it became extraordinarily difficult to cover all costs of marketing (electronic reminders included), sending of newsletters and so forth. The membership fee was eventually raised to compare better to that of other similar associations and to achieve more.