The methodology

2012-05-19 17:49

To calculate the cost of producing a single matriculant each year, Adcorp labour economist Loane Sharp argues that the aim of the education budget is to produce matric students.

“If we define ‘output’ as the number of students who passed matric and ‘total expenditure’ as
the total spent on all grades up to and including matric (in that year), the total effective cost per matric pass increased from R312 278 in 2008 to R442 900 in 2011 – an increase of 41%, or 14% per annum,” says Sharp.

An example would be to imagine that in a factory some of the products are still being developed and other products are ready for sale.

In calculating the overall input cost for the products ready to go to market, you would have to
include the development cost – both of the products ready to go to market and those that are still
in development, argues Sharp.

He applies this view to the education system to calculate the cost a matric graduate in their year
of graduation.

In 2011, the total education budget amounted R154.2 billion for the nine provinces, and 348 117 matriculants passed.

“The most accurate way of calculating the cost is to take 12 years of expenditure and add up
how much was spent on one group of pupils as they moved through the system.

“The problem is, education expenditure is not recorded that way; we don’t know how money is allocated per grade,” he says.

To calculate the cost per pupil per year, he took the total education budget and divided it by the number of pupils enrolled.

This analysis reinforces the notion that South Africa’s cost of education is high by international standards.

The study did not include the cost of school fees, which can be in excess of R20 000 a year in some state schools.

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