Best private and public schools in South Africa: cost vs peformance

With the rising costs of education at the top of parents’ minds, BusinessTech investigates how the top schools in both the public and private sectors compare when it comes to the performance of their pupils.

In 2015 there were 667,925 full time candidates participating in the NSC Examination, with 455,825 learners achieving a NSC pass (70.7%).

While the pass rate is down from 2014’s 75.8%, there were more passes in raw numbers, with  51,951 more students passing in 2015 than in 2014.

Private schools sat a different exam, with 10,212 full time students from 200 schools writing the 2015 IEB matric exams. 98.3% of matrics passed the exams, and 85.5% of those students qualified for Bachelor’s entry.

BusinessTech has compiled data looking at the tuition costs, number of students and number of Bachelor entry passes attained from some of the most expensive private schools and top-performing public schools in South Africa.

To determine the “top performing” public schools, BusinessTech ranked the top 10 according the number of students who sat the exams.

According to the department of education, 470 schools had a 100% matric pass rate in 2015, and 111 of them maintained a 100% pass rate for the past five years.

As all the schools listed in this comparison – private and public – achieved a 100% pass rate in 2015, the number of Bachelor entry passes (as a percentage) was selected as the measure of performance.

Note: It must be stressed that drawing any conclusions based on performance versus cost in the schools listed below is limited, as private school costs encompass more than just tuition.

For many private schools, the costs account for facilities, location and other benefits (such as fewer students per class), as well as the history and prestige associated with the schools.

The analysis does not take this into account, nor does it seek to compare differences between IEB and NSC qualifications, the quality of teachers, or any other factors that may affect the pricing of an institution.

Top performing public schools in 2015

School Matrics who wrote in 2015 % of Bachelors entry achieved School fees (2016)
Hoerskool Garsfontein 350 84% R24 200
Hoerskool Waterkloof 341 87% R25 805
Northcliff High School 252 87% R34 485
Durban Girls High School 226 96% R23 300
Westville Girls High School 225 96% R25 410
Afrikaanse Hoer Meisieskool 197 97% R28 800
Grey Boys School 186 79% R40 200
Randfontein High School 185 70% R7 800*
Westford High School 182 99% R31 600
Eunice Secondary School 174 100% R19 600
Average 232 90% R26 120

* latest available

Top performing private schools in 2015

School Matrics who wrote in 2015 % of Bachelors entry achieved School fees (2016)
St Stithians 255* 98% R117 470
Bishops 144 98% R113 440
St John’s 141 100% R124 618
Michaelhouse 115 97% R225 000**
Hilton College 114 95% R235 960**
Kearsney College 113 96% R145 500
St Alban’s College 107 95% R112 200
St Mary’s Waverley 103 100% R109 450
St Mary’s DSG 85 100% R104 100
St Andrew’s School for Girls 75 100% R111 110
Average 125 98% R139 884

* Boys and girls combined | ** Only boarding available

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