Parents with school-going children often feel that the South African government schools are not able to provide their kids with a good quality education and many feel forced to go the private school route.
The fact is that South Africa has a number of highly rated government schools and they are able to provide children with a top education.
Advantages of South African Government Schools
- One of the biggest advantages offered by government schools are affordable fees. On average the annual fees for a primary school are around R5000 per year, or R500 over ten months. 60% of government schools have been reclassified as no-fee schools which means that learners have access to free education. Parents who are unable to affordable schools fees in -fee-paying’ schools can apply for an exemption of fees, or a reduction in the fees.
- Several schools in the country have employed additional teachers (who are paid by the Governing body) to reduce the teacher:learner ratio.
- The government schools are well established and have access to many facilities, such as soccer, netball fields, etc.
- When children attend local schools, they develop a sense of pride for their community and are able interact with other kids who are their neighbours. The kids are from homes which have the same social class.
Disadvantages of South African Government Schools
- Overcrowding is one of the biggest disadvantages and in some schools, the teacher/learner ratio is a high as 1:50. Children with learning difficulties are seldom able to receive the help they need in a classroom that is overcrowded.
- Lack of discipline.
- Language barriers. With South African having 11 official languages, children often attend an English school but English is not their first language. This causes difficultly in the classroom as teachers struggle to teach children who are just learning to speak the language.
Advantages of Private Schools
- Small classes. On average a private school classroom has no more than 25 children, this means that kids who are struggling in certain areas will receive the attention they need and a teacher will be able to spend more time with each child.
- Discipline in a private school tends to be a lot stricter than in a government school. Children who continually disrupt classes or who ignore rules and regulations may be asked to leave the school. Although children can be expelled from a government school, it is generally a difficult task.
Disadvantages of Private Schooling
- The high school fees mean that for most South African children, attending a private school is not a reality. On average fees per month are between R2500 and R9000 per month. Bursaries can be obtained to cover the cost of tuition. There are also small private schools which can offer parents reasonable fees (from approximately R1700) per month.
- Many of the newer schools do not have sporting facilities and this means that extra murals are limited.
- Children who are fortunate enough to attend a private school are usually from affluent or wealthy families. Children from middle class families may find it difficult to fit in or be accepted. Parents may feel the need to compete with -the Jones to try fit into the school.
- If the decision has been made to go the private school route, parents are urged to weigh up the pros and cons of both private and state education. Parents who are unable to afford the fees of a private school and who are against state education should think about homeschooling. However, a large number of state schools are proving themselves and they have excellent results over the years and have a high standard of education. State schools are also staffed by many teachers who are passionate about their chosen vocation and are determined to give every child in their class extra care and attention.
Visit the website, www.saschools.co.za for a comprehensive list of South Africa’s private and government schools.