Financial Mail

PRIVATE SCHOOLS What is the attraction?


Is SA’s middle class rejecting the country’s public school system?

Education experts have been pondering this question amid the growing demand for private schooling despite the high fees many of them charge.

The number of learners attending independen­t schools has risen by 40% over the past five years. At the end of last year, there were 1 681 registered independen­t schools with 538 421 pupils, according to the department of basic education’s 2014 School Realities report. In 2009, there were 1 174 independen­t schools with 386 098 learners.

The most sought-after boarding schools charge anything from R140 000/year to R209 000/year, while premium day schools demand an average of R90 000/year.

With listed groups AdvTech and Curro having paved the way, many entreprene­urs are setting up chain schools.

Graeme Bloch, of the Wits School of Governance, says the numbers will continue to rise because many parents are disillusio­ned with the education offered at their local public schools. “It’s a rejection of the public school system,” says Bloch.

He says that though there has been some improvemen­t, in many cases the system continues to underperfo­rm, as principals and education officials are not held accountabl­e. Furthermor­e, schools in the public

Lebogang Montjane Disagrees that parents reject public schooling







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