South African Private Schools that are Cheaper than Public Schools in 2018

According to an April 2018 report by the Sunday Times, South Africa’s top private schools have lost thousands of students over the last year due to rising school fees and other costs.

Two of South Africa’s biggest private school chains, Curro and AdvTech, lost 3,881 pupils last year – mainly because parents could not afford to pay fees.

In addition, St John’s College in Parktown and St Stithians College in Sandton have confirmed that they had seen a number of drop-outs as well as an increase in students who had fallen behind in school fees.

Worse still, the pain is only set to increase according to Old Mutual, which found that the cost of education is expected to increase by about 9% per year.

This means that within five years, you could be facing school fees of around R130,000 per annum for a private school, and over R50,000 for a public school.

Similar increases can be expected across the education sector Old Mutual said, with the expected cost of one year of university rising from R58,860 in 2018 to R254,725 by 2035.

Expected cost of one year of education2018202320302035
Public Primary or High SchoolR34 613R53 256R97 355R149 792
Private Primary SchoolR84 742R130 386R238 351R366 733
Private High SchoolR136 065R209 352R382 704R588 838
UniversityR58 860R90 563R165 553R254 725

Private options

While many parents can simply no longer afford to send their children to private schools, there are still a number of schools that are actually cheaper than many public offerings – especially at the primary school level.

Factoring in Old Mutual’s expected cost of R34,613 for a year of schooling at a public primary or high school, BusinessTech looked at the biggest players in the market, and how their fees compare.



SPARK’s primary schools offer facilities for students from Grade R – Grade 7.

Each curriculum used encompasses the requirements of the CAPS curriculum, however there special focus is given to dynamic and individualised teaching, which ensures that scholars are learning the curriculum in new ways that are interesting for them.

According to the school’s website, two payment options are available for the 2019 school year  – an annual tuition cost of R23,100 per year, or a monthly tuition cost of R2,310 over 10 months.

In addition, the school will provide all necessary stationery for students upon receipt of an annual stationery fee and parents are not responsible for purchasing textbooks or replenishing school stationery (a R500 once off cost).