A look at South Africa’s most expensive school which costs R412,000 annually

While private legacy colleges like Hilton and Michaelhouse are known to be the most expensive schools in South Africa, the unconventional African Leadership Academy (ALA) carries a far higher cost.

The ALA is not a conventional school, and does not offer a National Senior Certificate through the public or IEB curriculum.

It purports to be a school that identifies and grooms future African leaders, and shirks a ‘traditional’ five-year senior certificate programme in favour of a two-year leadership and entrepreneurial course, for selected students aged between 16 and 19.

The school offers a two-year pre-university leadership programme (or diploma), where students are taken through multidisciplinary courses (focusing on maths, English, entrepreneurial leadership and African studies), and also a combination of higher-level courses from Cambridge-administered IGSCE, AS or A Level courses.

The school, which is located in Honeydew, Johannesburg, is an accredited Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) test center, and the A Levels are the ‘matric’ equivalent awarded.

The academy, which started in 2004, only takes 120 studies after screening “thousands”, it said.

Read: A look at the 5 most expensive schools in the world


The cost to study at the African Leadership Academy is steep at $30,900 per year (R412,000 – all inclusive), placing it as not only the most expensive school in South Africa, but also one of the most expensive schools in Africa.

This is far higher than the more ‘traditional’ most expensive school in South Africa, Hilton College, which has an annual tuition and boarding fee of R253,660.

Here is how ALA compares to the other expensive schools in South Africa.

School 2017 2016 %Change
African Leadership Academy R411 730
Hilton College R253 660 R235 960 7.5%
Michaelhouse R240 000 R225 000 6.7%
Roedean School for Girls R236 795 R220 276 7.5%
St Andrew’s College R235 335 R216 900 8.5%
St Stithian’s R229 010 R201 316 13.8%
St John’s R226 965 R210 352 7.9%
Bishops R219 510 R198 340 10.7%
St Andrew’s School for Girls R219 450 R198 540 10.5%
St Martin’s R217 330 R199 200 9.1%
Kearsney College R216 900 R211 500 2.6%
St Mary’s School Waverley R215 200 R198 150 8.6%
St Alban’s College R212 600 R197 300 7.8%
Kingswood College R203 400 R186 090 9.3%
Diocesan School for Girls Grahamstown R203 190 R187 260 8.5%
St Mary’s DSG -Pretoria R194 940 R190 800 2.2%
St Cyprian’s R191 550 R175 630 9.0%
St Mary’s School for Girls Kloof R182 740 R170 710 7.0%
The Wykeham Collegiate R182 140 R165 320 10.2%
Herschel Girls’ School R180 040 R169 320 6.3%

Read: Private schools vs government schools in SA – pricing and class sizes compared

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A look at South Africa’s most expensive school which costs R412,000 annually