Key Points:

  • In a new report, the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) combined international insights into low-fee private (independent) schools, and new research examining the latest developments, new and emerging players, and the significance of low-fee schools’ growth in South Africa.
  • Here, as in other developing countries, low-fee private schools are growing. CDE estimates that those charging fees below R12,000 a year are educating a quarter of a million children in disadvantaged communities.
  • The debate about their role in the education reform South Africa seeks is thick with ideology and thin on facts.
  • What do we know about low-fee schools here? What can we learn from other countries?
  • Can we find the right combination of public and private provision to ensure that more and more young South Africans have access to a good education as soon as possible?
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