Key Points:

  • The new CDE report, affordable private schools in South Africa reviews the scope, structure and accelerating growth of the low fee schooling sector.
  • There are some significant new developments taking place bringing considerable investment and innovation into private schooling for the poor in the country.
  • South Africa has a small low-fee private schooling sector: it is small relative to the size of schooling in South Africa as a whole.
  • The optimal size of a private school sector is a matter of considerable debate, but there is evidence from many countries around the world to suggest that a strong and vibrant private sector can significantly contribute to the improved overall performance of the schooling sector.
  • In 2010 the Centre for Development and Enterprise released a major report on this phenomenon in South Africa, Hidden Assets: South Africa‚Äôs low-fee private schools, and this was followed by a second publication in 2012 entitled promoting school choice for the poor: Practical ideas from international experience.
  • In essence the first report revealed that low-fee private schooling was more widespread in South Africa than many in South Africa (including in government) knew; and the second pointed out the numerous obstacles that South African low-fee schools encountered by comparison with other developing countries.
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