Exploring private education in South Africa

Many parents can’t afford private school fees. This has led to a generation of new schools that create a middle ground for parents.

 Three key factors stand out when parents choose a new school for their children.

Education is a big topic in 2021, considering that children worldwide lost out on valuable classroom time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stacey Brewer, the co-founder of independent school network SPARK Schools says there are not enough middle- to low-cost schools to serve the 12 million school-going children in South Africa.

Until a few years ago, South African parents wanting to give their children the best possible education either had to bite the bullet to pay for private schooling or take their chances in the government schooling system. There is a rise of a generation of new schools that create a middle ground for parents. These schools are of private school quality but with affordable fees like government schools.

According to SPARK School’s market research, three key factors stand out when parents choose a new school for their children: 

  1. Affordability
  2. Safety
  3. Quality of education

Did you know that some parents will pay up to 20% of their income to secure the best possible schooling for their children?

Other factors influencing the choice of a school include proximity to home or work, the availability of extra-mural activities, and a positive culture and values. And while most parents care about academic achievement as part of quality education, they also want an education that develops real-world skills – social, thinking, and emotional skills – and prepares their children for a life beyond school.

Important questions around your child’s school

Here are questions you should ask when deciding which school is best for your child:

  • Is your child’s school taking the current education crisis as an opportunity to create change in the schooling system by providing parents with an opportunity to invest in their children’s future?
  • Is your child’s school pushing the minimum learning requirements while aligning itself with national standards?
  • Is your child’s school keeping up with the fourth industrial revolution and has it integrated the use of technology extensively in the classroom? This is important as it will allow learners to be able to be ready for the big world post-school.