School fees set to soar in new year

18 November 2018 - 00:00 By PREGA GOVENDER
Fees at both government and private schools are set to increase at a significantly higher rate than the current 4.9% inflation rate.
Fees at both government and private schools are set to increase at a significantly higher rate than the current 4.9% inflation rate.
Image: Phill Magakoe / AFP

Government and private schools have set fee increases for next year well above inflation as they brace for a rise in applications for fee exemptions from cash-strapped parents.

A snap survey of 20 schools revealed that increases at state schools averaged 8.2% and hikes at private schools were on average 7.8% — significantly higher than the current 4.9% inflation rate.

Economist Azar Jammine warned that above-inflation increases at high-end private schools were going to result in “more and more people no longer finding it affordable” and moving to former Model C schools.

“Private schools are becoming the ambit of the corporate elite. One is finding that some of the ordinary decent professionals are now really struggling to keep pace with some of the private school fees,” he said.

The headmaster of Hoërskool Pietersburg, Willie Schoeman, said the provincial education department paid 68c a day to each of the school’s 1,269 pupils this year.

“How ridiculous is that? We have not received a cent from the department for fee exemptions that were granted to pupils.”

The school’s fees for next year have been hiked by 9.3%, from R22,242 to R24,310.

Schoeman said he had to reduce next year’s sports budget to keep the increase down. Parents of 93 pupils still owed R1.8m in fees for this year.

Read the full story in the Sunday Times.


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