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School Fees And Access To Education

Colourful Education

The South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 is concerned with the governance and funding of schools as well as to amend and repeal certain laws relating to schools and also to provide for matters connected therewith.

Access to education on the other hand is not only a matter of societal and personal development, but rather a fundamental right which is also entrenched under Section 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which provides that everyone has the right to basic education, which right includes adult basic education.

School fees were initially introduced as a means of revenue, particularly for constrained governments in order to fund the improvement and expansion of education. Schools are dependent on fees to purchase schooling material and to fund various projects which will enable them to achieve their objectives of securing quality education.

Problems experienced in the education sector that affect school attendance and results include the lack of books, overcrowded classes, high fees, poor facilities, lack of teachers, teachers’ absenteeism, poor quality of teaching and teachers striking.

It is also crucial to note that another factor that hinders access to education are the modes of transport used by learners and students to get to school. For example, learners and students that need to walk distances to get to school, travel long distances by lift clubs and/or by poor public or government transportation systems.

School Governing Bodies, (SGBs) of public schools must supplement government funding, by charging school fees, doing other reasonable forms of fund raising and securing donations and sponsorships. It is also the responsibility of the SGBs to ensure that all these funds are kept and managed in one bank account. No public school should have more than one account.

The right not to charge school fees will be limited to the schools that have been declared ‘no fee schools’ and the criteria to determine the ‘no fee schools’ will be based on the economic level of the community around the school. The exemption from payment of school fees is a mechanism that government has put in place to assist parents to access quality education for their children, irrespective of their background or financial constraints.

Average fees per annum as of 2018 were as follows and subject to an average increase of about 9% per year:

• Public Primary or High School-R34 613.00

• Private primary school- R84 742.00

• Private High School- R146 065

• University- R58 860

For more information on school fees, access to education and other related matters, contact Myers Attorneys

at (011) 346 2422 or

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