Citation

School fees in South Africa: Implications for educational equity

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Abstract:

The majority of South African learners attend public schools, all of which are encouraged to supplement government funding with private funds - namely through fees charged of learners’ parents. A review of the literature suggests that school fees can impede the right to education and the achievement of other national development goals by restricting access for poor learners, or by diminishing the quality of education. While the issue of school fees has been hotly debated in South Africa, there is little information about what is actually happening in schools. This research, conducted in a peri-urban area outside of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, is designed to explore the perspectives and experiences of principals with regards to the school fee policy. Eleven principals were interviewed: nine from relatively poor schools and two from a wealthier area, and their experiences with regards to the implementation of the school fee policy were compared and analyzed.

The findings suggest the implementation of the policy tends to be similar across schools of similar financial standing, but that there are considerable differences between the experiences of principals from poor and wealthy schools. The wealthier schools implemented the policy ‘to-the-letter’ and had hired staff and created systems to ensure all rules were properly followed. All of the poorer schools found parts of the policy impossible to implement in their schools and had adapted the policy in similar ways to better fit their situation.

The significant contrasts in experiences between experiences of poor and wealthy schools and the adverse incentives built into the policy suggest the right question to ask may not be whether or not schools are implementing the policy correctly, but whether the policy is correctly designed to achieve the goals of the South African education system within the current context.

Author's Keywords:

school fees,
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
URL:
http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493819_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Raab, Erin. "School fees in South Africa: Implications for educational equity" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Apr 30, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493819_index.html>

APA Citation:

Raab, E. , 2011-04-30 "School fees in South Africa: Implications for educational equity" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493819_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The majority of South African learners attend public schools, all of which are encouraged to supplement government funding with private funds - namely through fees charged of learners’ parents. A review of the literature suggests that school fees can impede the right to education and the achievement of other national development goals by restricting access for poor learners, or by diminishing the quality of education. While the issue of school fees has been hotly debated in South Africa, there is little information about what is actually happening in schools. This research, conducted in a peri-urban area outside of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, is designed to explore the perspectives and experiences of principals with regards to the school fee policy. Eleven principals were interviewed: nine from relatively poor schools and two from a wealthier area, and their experiences with regards to the implementation of the school fee policy were compared and analyzed.

The findings suggest the implementation of the policy tends to be similar across schools of similar financial standing, but that there are considerable differences between the experiences of principals from poor and wealthy schools. The wealthier schools implemented the policy ‘to-the-letter’ and had hired staff and created systems to ensure all rules were properly followed. All of the poorer schools found parts of the policy impossible to implement in their schools and had adapted the policy in similar ways to better fit their situation.

The significant contrasts in experiences between experiences of poor and wealthy schools and the adverse incentives built into the policy suggest the right question to ask may not be whether or not schools are implementing the policy correctly, but whether the policy is correctly designed to achieve the goals of the South African education system within the current context.


Similar Titles:
Is transformation of schools in South Africa close to the dream of reality? Equity in schools

Out-of-school children and exclusion from education: Equity challenges and policy responses in Eastern and Southern Africa

Migrating to Opportunity: Educational Transformation and Access to Schooling in South Africa

Making rights realities: Research findings from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia on education, equity, and development


 
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