Public schooling can cost you a pretty penny

2012-10-27 16:19

Its sports academy has a physiotherapist, sports psychologist and former Sharks coach Hugh-Reece Edwards to advise its rugby programme.

It also has a R6.5 million multipurpose centre, a R3 million arts centre and an acquatic centre under  construction that has already cost R1.2 million.

But Durban’s Westville Boys’ High is not a private college; it’s a fee-paying government school that will cost parents R31 111 per child next year.

The school, which boasts Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos as an old boy, offers Dramatic Art, Information Technology and Computer Technology as subjects.

All this costs money.

The school’s website puts the high costs down to “government funding for education, which has been directed increasingly towards the poorest sectors, with the large urban schools increasingly assuming the character of semiprivate or self-managing schools”.

“Although the disadvantage of this move has been an increased burden on parents to meet school fees, there has been a significant advantage: the ability of the school to develop its grounds, buildings and facilities according to its own vision.”

The school’s website says it has built its extensive facilities largely from old boys’ donations.

It received R700 000 from the National Lottery to build the new acquatic centre.

They have coaches for 21 different sports, including golf, fencing, water polo, judo and squash.

And some parents are happy to pay through the nose for these extras.

A mother who asked not to be named insisted it was “worth every cent”, adding that she enrolled her son because of the school’s academic results.

Over 90% of their matric class earns university entrance passes.

Parent Thobekile Zulu said her son’s fees were the biggest item on their household budget, but it was worth it for the discipline he is taught at school.

But not all feel that way.

A father who also asked not to be named said although he was pleased with the “fantastic sporting facilities and art centre”, the 10% annual increases were too much.

“The school fees increase at a rate much higher than parents’ annual salary increases,” he said.

The governing body decides on the fee increases and parents agree to it at a meeting. But no one, he said, was brave enough to oppose the increase.

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