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Like most parents with kids of schoolgoing age you probably wish you had very deep pockets. Because by now you’ve had to fork out for a uniform and pay school fees – then had to deal with the extras such as cricket and ballet and cough up yet more money for art lessons.

Of course that’s not the end of it for most moms and dads – some might be informed their child struggles to pronounce the letter “r” and speech therapists don’t work for free.

And just when they’ve spent pretty much their last rand parents realise their son’s karate suit pants are nearer his knees than his ankles.

Not helping much is the fact that schools in Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo and Gauteng have increased their school fees by 10 per cent this year.

In short: to educate a child these days doesn’t require only dedication and patience – it will cost you a small fortune.

We asked YOU readers how much they spend on their kids’ education a year and the figures are staggering. And we’re not even talking about expensive private schools or several extramural programmes.

As you can see from our examples of an average school career, we found the cost of a 14-year education in an average school is at least R300 000 a child. This is without taking inflation into account or the child’s general care or tuckshop treats and school fundraising events.

Although there are many worthy extramural activities for your child to pursue many are no longer funded by school fees. So kids can have every fun extra under the sun – but only if money is no problem.

WHAT THESE READERS PAY Annemie van Wyk (29) of Cape Town Kihan van Wyk (6) is in Grade R at Laerskool De Tyger in Goodwood, Cape Town. Mom Annemie works so Kihan spends afternoons at the after-school care centre. He takes karate lessons and attends a weekly class that helps children to develop emotionally and to express themselves. The school provides learners with stationery. School fees R490 a month = R5 880 Aftercare R280 a month = R 3 360 Excursions R300 a year Karate R110 a term = R440 Emotional development group R170 a month x 10 = R1 700 TOTAL: R11 680

Baratang Miya (40) of Cape Town Baratang’s daughter, Thato (8), is in Grade 3 at Grove Primary School, a former Model C school in Cape Town. Thato has a passion for music and gymnastics and divides her after-school time between gymnastics and hammering away at the marimba drums. School fees R1 644,40 a month x 10 months = R16 444 School uniform R700 School books R1 200 Aftercare R6 800 Gymnastics R390 a term = R1 560 Marimba drums R300 a term = R1 200 Excursions a term R24 = R96 TOTAL: R28 000

* See the issue of YOU, 3 March 2011, for more on what the average South African pays to educate their children.

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