South Africa

Skyrocketing private school costs reach R25.5K for primary pupil

Classroom. File Image.

Classroom. File Image.

Private primary school education will cost R154,900 in 2025 at some schools, but parents pay up for ‘peace of mind’.

A safe environment, individual attention and quality of learning are the main reasons parents opt for private education for their children, despite its ever-rising cost.

A Pretoria mother, 35, who did not want to be named to protect the identity of her Grade 5 daughter, said having her daughter at Funanani Christian School in Mamelodi West was a no-brainer, despite having to fork out almost R16 000 a year.

“My child has never attended a government school, although I am a single mother.

“All I work for is her education and having her at the private school gives me peace of mind. She will never be bullied or have her belongings snatched. The environment is conducive for quality development, with proper infrastructure, quality teachers and attention,” she said.

She spends R920 on transport monthly and extra costs associated with activities at the school amount to R350 a month. Textbooks cost R1,200, uniform R1,000 and every Friday she must pay R20 for “civvies day”.

“What I also like is that the staff there make you want to be involved in your child’s education and they are very observant and tell you whenever something is wrong. The school is secure and there are guards at the gate. I have peace of mind,” she said.

At Spark independent schools, annual primary school fees will set parents back R25,500 a year from next year, while high school fees will be R33,000.

Spark Schools chief executive Stacey Brewer said it was interesting to note that “according to StatsSA, primary and secondary education is ranked in the top-10 things which are much more expensive in SA in 2019 – a 6.8% jump from May 2018 to May 2019”.

According to Brewer, the cost of private primary school education will cost R154,900 in 2025 and this will rise to R366,700 in 2030. Private high school fees will cost R248,700 in 2025, skyrocketing to R588,800 in 2030.

She said affordable choices for private education were emerging.

“Until recently, parents wanting to give their children the best possible education were caught between a rock and a hard place.

“If their children couldn’t get into a good public school, they either had to bite the bullet to pay for private schooling or take their chances in a government schooling system that’s creaking at the seams.

“That’s starting to change, with the emergence of a new breed of private schools that are providing private school-quality education at a price point comparable to many government schools,” Brewer said.

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