Over 200 schools in poor areas of the Western Cape, accommodating about 1 70 000 learners, will be relieved from paying school fees said the provinces education MEC yesterday. (subs: Mon)
Education MEC Donald Grant said his department had set aside R19 million to subsidise those schools for the 2013/14 financial year, with a futher R46 million set aside for the 2014/15 financial period.
In addition, he said R9 million was being offered as funding top-ups to selected quintile 4 and 5 schools that struggled with parents who were not able to pay school fees for their children.
He said each year thousands of parents at fee-paying public schools either failed to pay up or applied for fee exemption.
“The reality is that we are living in tough economic times, and in this kind of climate, many parents simply cannot afford to pay their school fees.
“This ultimately affects some schools’ income and places a burden on the school management to find the funds necessary to pay for services, equipment and materials.”
He said his department supported schools that offered fee expemptions to struggling parents.
Additionally, many schools believed that they were ranked in the department’s quintile system and requested their quintile status be lowered in order to receive more funding.
But he said his department could not easily change a school’s quintile status and had thus lobbied Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga “on a number of occasion” to have the system reviewed.
Grant said Motshekga last month told Parliament that she wanted to do away with the system in favour of a two-category system but the details and progress on the matter had been slow.
He said in poorer schools only between 20 and 40 percent of the fees were being collected while in better resourced schools the collection rate was between 80 and 100 percent.
Yana van Leeve, deputy national coordinator for advocacy group Equal Education (EE), said they could not comment on the matter yet as they still have to follow up with the department to get the full details. – France Hweshe