Number of schools in SA drops - survey
Johannesburg - The total number of schools in South Africa dropped between 2000 and 2010, but the number of independent schools increased, according to a survey by the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR).
"In total, there are 1 910 fewer schools of all kinds today than there were in 2000," the SAIRR said on Wednesday.
Its analysis was based on data provided by the department of basic education and the results were released in its annual South African survey two weeks ago.
44% increase in independent schools
"The period between 2000 and 2010 saw a decline of nine percent in the number of public schools, from 26 789 to 24 451," it said.
Only the Northern Cape experienced an increase, of 23%, in the number of public schools over this period.
"Independent schools, on the other hand, increased by more than 44% in the whole country," SAIRR said.
This trend was particularly strong in the Eastern Cape where there was a 295% increase, and Limpopo, with a 135% increase.
Only in the Northern Cape did the number of independent schools decrease.
"The total number of independent schools in South Africa, which stood at 971 in 2000, was 1 399 in 2010."
SAIRR said despite the increase in independent schools, these still accounted for only 5.4% of all South African schools, up from 3.5% in 2000.
Pupil enrolment up
Nationwide, pupil enrolment had increased by three percent since 2000.
"There are, however, significant differences between public and independent schools.
"Enrolment in the former increased by merely 1.4% as compared to an increase of 76% in the latter.
"Obviously, there is a growing trend of parents preferring to send their children to independent schools, but independent schools still represent only a small proportion of South African schools," said researcher Jonathan Snyman.
With about 30 pupils per teacher, the nationwide pupil-teacher ratio in public schools was almost double the ratio in independent schools, which had an average of 16 pupils per teacher, SAIRR said.