SINCE the advent of democracy in South Africa all schools have opened their doors to pupils of any colour and culture. This has resulted in a dramatic decrease in pupil enrollment in rural and township schools and increase in former model C schools.This situation results in high competition for pupil enrollment among public schools. If schools are going to thrive and attract more pupils while producing quality results, they definitely need to be managed like businesses with functional marketing and PR techniques as well as programmes. Every parent wants to put their child in the best institution which has a positive image and good reputation. A positive image and good reputation of a school doesn’t occur naturally, but to an extent, they depend on sound marketing and PR activities. Schools that are at the top of their game are more likely to grow in popularity because they are well marketed and positively perceived by communities. Schools that don’t market their programmes and produce below average results are more likely to remain unpopular and attract minimal pupil enrollment.Functional marketing and PR programmes have been tried and tested to be effective tools in attracting pupils to public schools each year. Big and small schools have something positive to show - minor or major - to stakeholders and that can assist to boost their image. The shortfall is that many activities and programmes occur in school every day, but they don’t get the publicity they deserve, so never make the positive impact they are supposed to make. Marketing and PR are some effective ways to keep stakeholders informed and updated.If pupils travel long distances to School A, there should be something good at that school, but if pupils leave School B in their neighbourhood and travel all the way to School A that means School B has a to improve in marketing and PR strategy.It is imperative for schools to be on a good footing with media so they don’t only get in the news for the wrong reasons and attract negative publicity. They get into the media to expose and advance their programmes and attain positive publicity. That is the power and influence of school marketing and PR. Other activities that could contribute to the positive image of the school includes having a vibrant sporting programme, a vast range of co-curricular activities for teaching in totality, meaningful twinning and networking programmes, stakeholder involvement and information sharing and regular updates to parents. • Zamani A. Hlela is Ekuphileni Primary School HOD.