'Over 70% of SA parents spend up to R10 000 annually outside of school fees' - Back to school survey

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The survey was taken by more than 1200 South Africans – and covered questions around concerns and hidden costs of the ‘back to school’ period for parents. (Getty Images)
The survey was taken by more than 1200 South Africans – and covered questions around concerns and hidden costs of the ‘back to school’ period for parents. (Getty Images)

As we approach the back to school season in 2021,  what are some of South African parents' biggest concerns? 

According to a survey carried out by leading African retailer Game this past December, the biggest stressors among parents of school-going children (76% of respondents) is whether schools will again be shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Concerns and hidden costs

The survey was taken by more than 1200 South Africans – and covered questions around concerns and hidden costs of the ‘back to school’ period for parents.

For 67% of participating parents, finding the funds for stationery and other school supplies were a top priority, while 56% were concerned about mentally preparing their children to return to school. 

"Sending children to school is certainly a priority for most parents in South Africa – however, it is also a huge source of financial strain. This strain is exacerbated in 2021, following the tough economic times the country faced in 2020. Beyond uniforms and stationery, parents are having to cover costs around technology, after-care, and extra murals – for example," explains Katherine Madley, Game's Vice President of Marketing. 

Also see: This local mom of two's back-to-school stationery hacks will save you time and money

Annual costs

When parents were asked to rank the annual costs of sending children to school (excluding school fees) from most to least expensive, the results were as follows:

  • uniforms (including those for extra murals)
  • stationery, textbooks, and course materials
  • technology (laptops, iPads, cell phones, and data)
  • extra-mural activities (sporting goods, extra lessons and school trips)
  • food (lunches, lunchboxes and cooldrinks)

When asked what they were spending annually on each child, outside of school fees, the majority (78%) are spending less than R10 000, with 55% spending R5000 or less. Only 10% are spending over R21 000. 

This may well decrease in 2021, as the survey found that 20% of the sample had taken a salary reduction since the beginning of lockdown, 17% were retrenched, and 11% had to close their businesses as a result of Covid-19 and lockdown. 

"South Africans will be looking to significantly drive down their expenditure in 2021 – with the cost of schooling remaining a significant factor," concludes Madley. 

Submitted to Parent24 by Game. 

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