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A list of the most expensive schools in South Africa

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Between the public and independent schools in South Africa, private schools under the independent category remain some of the most expensive schools.

South Africa’s primary education system is made up of public schools that are governed by the government and independent schools, which includes private schools.

The private schools are substantially more expensive than the public schools and despite calls to keep fees consistent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – this continues to be true of school fees in 2022.

The schooling system in South Africa

South Africa has a complicated schooling system, but when it is broken down to its core, there are only really two main types of schools.

The South Africa Schools Act (SASA), which came into effect in 1996, outlines the framework of the national schooling system and these two different types of schools, namely: independent schools and public schools.

Independent schools are governed by a private governing body, whereas public schools are governed by the state. All private schools in South Africa fall under the independent school category, as they are not controlled by the state.

The most expensive schools in South Africa

When it comes to the most expensive schools in South Africa, private schools will always take the cup.

This is because these schools rely on school fees as a means of funding and maintaining the day-to-day activities of the schools, including teachers’ salaries, general upkeep, infrastructure, water and electricity, and even school trips.

In 2022, the government has urged private schools to keep their school fees relatively consistent to accommodate the economic and financial instability that has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, despite many people in the country suffering from financial losses, many private schools have increased their fees in 2022 from 2021.

Let us take a closer look at the highest school fees in the country, how much fees have increased from the previous year, and why parents still choose to send their children to private schools despite the inflated prices.

This information will aid in your understanding of the most expensive schools in South Africa.

Highest school fees in 2022

There are several costs, besides the school fees, associated with sending your child(ren) to one of the most expensive schools in the country, like admission fees and fees for extracurricular activities.

Comparing these schools in terms of straight school fees for 2022, will provide a good understanding of which schools are the most expensive.

The top 10 private schools are as follows:

Ranking School 2022 school fees
1 Kearsney College R209 000
2 St John’s College R179 000
3 Roedean College R176 204
4 Bishops Diocesan College R170 520
5 Crawford College Sandton R164 470
6 St Alban’s College R163 650
7 St Mary’s School R163 550
8 Clifton College R163 398
9 Reddam House Waterfall/ Helderfontein R162 495
10 St Stithians College R162 110

Increases in school fees from 2021

The majority of these top 10 most expensive schools have increased their school fees from 2021 to 2022, despite the urges from the government and other public figures to keep fees stable while the economy recovers. The increases at these schools can be summarised as follows:

School Percentage increase in school fees from 2021 to 2022 Amount increase in school fees from 2021 to 2022
Kearsney College 4.9 R9 680
St Johns College 4.0 R6 815
Roedean College 5.0 R8 390
Bishops Diocesan College 7.5 R11 900
Crawford College Sandton 7.0 R10 760
St Alban’s College 5.5 R8 550
St Mary’s School 4.8 R7 550
Clifton College 5.1 R7 940
Reddam House Waterfall/ Helderfontein New school New School
St Stithians College 4.8 R7 400

The pros and cons of private school education

Despite these ever-increasing high school fees, many people still choose to send their children to private schools instead of public schools.

There are many possible reasons for this, but some of the most widely accepted pros and cons of a private school education, is as follows:

Pros of a private school education Cons of a private school education
Smaller classes and more personal lessons Expensive
Higher curriculum flexibility Higher levels of academic and social pressure
Newer studying and teaching methods Less extracurricular activities

Private schools are alluring to many people, because they have differentiated themselves on standards of infrastructure, intellectuality, personal, social, cultural, physicality, and professionalism in public schools.

Final thoughts

There are many differences, especially school fees, between the public and independent schools in South Africa.

Private schools remain the most expensive schools and even increase their fees annually, but despite this, there are reasons for and against sending your child(ren) to a private school.

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