Western Cape Education on fee paying schools

WCED assists 97% of fee paying schools as parents struggle to pay fees

Many of our schools in the Western Cape are classified as Quintile 4 and 5 schools (fee paying), which are supposed to be wealthy, but the reality is that they are attended by a large number of poor learners and, in some instances, should be classified as Quintile 1-3 schools (no-fee schools). The National Quintile system and concomitant funding does not allow this, which shows the flawed nature of this system.

To mitigate the effects of the quintile system, the WCED has this year made over R47.5 million available to assist Quintile 4 and 5 schools who are struggling to collect school fees from poorer learners.

Every year the WCED and our fee paying schools receive thousands of applications for fee exemption from school fees.

There are currently 569 public ordinary fee paying schools in the Western Cape. This year the WCED has paid out fee compensation to 551 of these schools. This means that the WCED is assisting 97.01% of our fee paying schools.

The percentage of fee-paying schools that submitted compensation claims in 2014 and 2015 was 91.09% and 96.66% respectively.

It is evident that there is a growing number of parents who simply cannot afford to pay school fees. This is an unfortunate consequence of our ailing economy and puts a massive financial strain on fee-paying schools relying on the collection of fees to sustain their daily running costs.

In response, we have to do more to assist parents and our schools serving poor communities – despite our own severe budgetary constraints.

Since 2011, we have supported our schools in providing access to our poorer learners by providing fee compensation. In 2011, the WCED paid out R20 388 379 million with 48 974 learners claiming compensation. Five years later, in 2016 the WCED has paid out more than double the amount, paying R47 518 478 for 77 264 learners in the Western Cape.

In addition to fee compensation, in 2013 the WCED offered 216 public schools serving poorer communities the option to apply for No-Fee Status. This was done to assist our poorest schools in quintiles 4 and 5 in alleviating some of the funding difficulties they face.

In the 2016/17 financial year, we continue to support the 216 schools that have been declared no-fee schools through our own funding mechanisms.

Altogether, more than 97% of our schools are either no fee schools or have benefitted from fee compensation.

Every child has a right to basic education and we are very pleased that we have been able to assist these schools with this kind of compensation, in the current economic environment.

Source: Government of South Africa.

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