Key Points:

  • Low-fee independent schools (LFIS) are a growing phenomenon in South Africa.
  • In many parts of the country, they offer an alternative choice of education to poor communities, they address the lack of public schools, offer access to better quality learning, and fulfil parents’ desire for schools with a religious affiliation or alternative philosophies not provided for by public schools.
  • In South Africa, as elsewhere, there is growing interest from investors and donors to support these schools or invest in them.
  • In South Africa, as elsewhere, investors and donors are increasingly keen on supporting or investing in these schools. However, one of the key findings identified in CDE’s 2015 report, Investing in Potential: The financial viability of low-fee private schools in South Africa, is that all low-fee schools are engaged in an endless balancing act between keeping fees low to allow access to the poor, and providing quality teaching and learning for high learner achievement.
  • Financial viability and quality of instruction are intricately interconnected. Schools that provide quality education are more likely to attract a growing number of learners, achieve economies of scale and have a better chance of becoming financially sustainable.
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