Key Points:

  • Independent schools in South Africa are highly regulated. Legislation and regulations from all sectors of government are increasingly disabling.
  • Between 2010 and 2013, the policy unit of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa identified 246 pieces of legislation that affected independent schools. Significantly, public schools do not have to be registered or accredited – the two processes with the highest compliance costs for independent schools.
  • International experience shows that the regulatory requirements strongly influence the growth of the independent school sector. Unless the regulatory environment is enabling, it will not grow this sector optimally, and education access and quality will not be optimised.
  • Government must provide a sound policy framework for the operation of the private education sector. This requires recognising the role of the private education sector in the delivery of quality education to all children and facilitating an environment in which it can operate.
  • There should be a clear, objective and streamlined process for establishing and regulating independent schools.
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