As a parent, finding the right school to help your child develop to their full potential is crucial. Post apartheid, the government has invested substantially in education – in February 2020, finance minister Tito Mboweni announced a R396 billion allocation to the sector. Yet, many schools remain under- resourced and overcrowded.
In 2017, according to The Economist, SA ranked 75th out of 76 in a table of education systems drawn up by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2015. It found that a staggering 27% of the pupils who attended school for six years could not read.
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The right choice can ensure that your child not only passes, but reaches tertiary education properly prepared. Each type of school has advantages and disadvantages, and your choice will rest largely on your child’s personality and interests as well as your values and finances. “The real distinction is not between different systems, but between those schools that can and can’t meet the criteria of good education,” says Dr Heather Jacklin, retired senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town School of Education. “These are a quality curriculum, schooling teaching that enables learners to actively make sense of what they’re learning, classrooms that offer social support and individual guidance, and respect for learners’ differences.”
No particular category necessarily does or does not meet these criteria, Dr Jacklin says. “You should not assume that simply because a school is private and you’re paying fees, it will meet these criteria, or that a mainstream government one won’t.”