South African private schools see major drop-outs due to rising costs: report

 ·22 Apr 2018
Private Public School

South Africa’s top private schools have lost thousands of students over the last year due to rising school fees and other costs.

According to a report by the Sunday Times, two of South Africa’s biggest private school chains, Curro and AdvTech, lost 3,881 pupils last year – mainly because parents could not afford to pay fees.

In addition, both St John’s College in Parktown and St Stithians College in Sandton confirmed that they had seen a number of drop-outs as well as an increase in students who had fallen behind in school fees.

However, it appears the pain is being felt at both ends of the school spectrum as enrolment at these private schools has also dropped – increasing by 2.7% this year compared to 4.9% last year – while some schools have been unable to fill their Grade 1 classes this year.

High prices

Having adjusted their fee structures for 2018, South Africa’s elite schools are now more expensive than ever.

Notably, when BusinessTech first published a list of the most expensive schools in 2014, only one school (Hilton College) was priced over R200,000 for boarding and tuition – now in 2018, 17 schools have moved into that price range.

As it currently stands Hilton College and Michaelhouse are the most expensive schools in the country (first and second, respectively), followed by St Andrew’s College (Grahamstown) in third, Roedean School for Girls in fourth, and Kearnsney College in fifth.

Aside from the prestige, tradition, and beautiful facilities and grounds, the fees generally cover tuition, board, games, ordinary medical attention, the use of the sanatorium, library and laundry.

It also includes basic entertainment which is arranged for learners, and transport for sporting and other events.

Most expensive schools in SA

School 2018 2017  % Change
Hilton R276,560 R253,660 9.0%
MichaelHouse R265,680 R240,000 10.7%
 St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown R252,990 R235,335 7.5%
 Roedean School for Girls R252,341 R236,795 6.6%
 Kearnsney College R242,220 R225,940 7.2%
 Bishops, Rondebosch R240,380 R219,510 9.5%
 St Mary’s, Waverley R234,540 R215,200 8.9%
 St Andrew’s School for Girls, Senderwood R233,810 R219,450 6.5%
 St Stithians R232,640 R229,010 1.6%
 St Martin’s R232,120 R217,330 6.8%
 St Alban’s College R229,410 R212,600 7.9%
 St John’s College R227,815 R226,965 0.4%
 Kingswood College R221,370 R203,400 8.8%
 Diocesan School for Girls, Grahamstown R219,420 R203,190  8.0%
 St Mary’s DSG, Pretoria R209,675 R194,940  7.6%
 Somerset College R208,515 R196,712 6.0%
 St Cyprian’s R204,000 R191,550 6.5%
 The Wykeham Collegiate R196,600 R182,140 7.9%
 Treverton College R191,840
 Herschel Girls’ School R190,150 R180,040 5.6%

Read: Government looking at changing school holidays

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