How much it will cost to send your child to school in South Africa over the next 20 years

 ·19 Jan 2017

The South African Constitution bill of rights states that children have the right to an education – thus it is imperative for parents to prepare themselves and know the actual costs of education says financial services company, Old Mutual.

The cost of educating a child is for many parents across South Africa – their number one concern, especially when one factors in sharp increases in education inflation, with the figure for 2017 expected to be as high as 9.5%.

However, the latest Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor shows that 54% of urban South African parents are still not actively saving for their children’s education.

“Alarmingly, education inflation is higher than South Africa’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) and this gap has widened from around 2% in the early 2000s to a probable 4% in 2017,” said Old Mutual’s head of financial education, John Manyike.

“This means that a parent whose child starts grade R in 2017 can expect to pay between R1 332 112 and R3 011 315 for public or private education respectively. This rand amount includes primary school, high school and a three year University qualification in 2033.”

Read: These are the 20 most expensive schools in South Africa in 2017

He said that saving for education is like saving for your retirement, you wouldn’t start a year or two before you need to retire.

“So the best course of action is to start saving as early as possible. Even if you can only afford a small amount to begin with, the important thing is to start. There are a number of educational policies or savings instruments in the market and you should ask your financial advisor to assist you with a financial plan.”

He also noted that parents should consider a number of additional costs, beyond only the fees of educational institutions. “You also need to factor in the costs of school uniforms, text books, stationery, transport, food, extra lessons, extra mural activities, pocket money, accommodation, etc. when putting together a financial plan for your child’s education.”

“The gift of education is the best thing you can offer your children as it will prepare them for life and will give them a good start. Furthermore, a well-educated youth is essential to the sustainability of South Africa’s economy,” concluded Manyike.

Old Mutual pointed out that its figures on the cost of education are based on selected ex-model C government and private schools and universities. The projected annual fees are increased at a flat rate of 9.5% annually. This includes university fees where the long term strategy for fee increase restrictions are still uncertain.

Cost of one year’s education in 2017, 2022, 2030 and 2035

Education level 2017 2022 2030 2035
Public primary or high school R32 000 R50 000 R103 000 R149 000
Private primary school R78 000 R122 000 R253 000 R364 000
Private high school R125 000 R197 000 R406 000 R584 000
University R54 000 R85 000 R176 000 R253 000

Read: How much it costs to educate your child in South Africa

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