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School funding by quintile: per-learner allocations and school fees

Posted by Magali von Blottnitz on 03 December 2018 6:10 PM CAT
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Per-learner allocations for non-personnel costs

The National Norms and Standards for School Funding regulate the amount of funds each school receives for non-personnel costs.

Each school receives an allocation ‘per learner’. Per learner allocations in poorer schools (quintile 1, 2 and 3) are approximately twice as high as allocations per learner in quintile 4 schools, and six times higher than for learners in quintile 5 schools.

 Above: 2018 National Targets for per-learner allocation

Please note that these are only “national targets”

  • some provinces (usually Gauteng, Free State, Northern Cape, and Western Cape) exceed these targets
  • other provinces (Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and KZN) are below target.

The role of school fees (in quintile 4 and 5 schools)

In order to compensate for the lower amount of public funding they receive, quintile 4 and 5 schools are allowed to raise money from parents in the form of fees. However, the South African Schools Act (SASA) prohibits schools from refusing to admit a student because their parents are unable to pay for school fees.

Parents who cannot afford fees can apply for partial or total fee exemptions. When fee exemptions are granted, the Department pays the school an additional amount per exempted learner, which is meant to make up for the loss of income resulting from the fee exemption (the amount may not entirely coincide with the level of the fees).

Public schools located in low-income areas (classified as quintile 1, 2 and 3) are not allowed to charge fees. They have to cover all their non-personnel costs through state funding or raise funds through other means.

Note: In some cases, it is possible for a quintile 4 or 5 schools to apply for a no-fee school status. If the application is approved, the school will receive the same per-learner allocation as a quintile 1-3 school.

See also: how schools manage their funds

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