Should schools offering less contact time give fee discounts?

Picture for illustration. Picture: Supplied

This in the face of a reduction in the number of enrollments at independent schools.

With the reopening of schools in South Africa after almost three months of closure due to coronavirus, many parents and kids are getting used to a new normal. 

With independent schools having the flexibility to interpret the Department of education’s directive for a phased-in return to school to suit their specific environments many private schools are opting to have less contact time at schools with kids having contact learning twice or thrice a week. 

Also Read: Parents may need to consider homeschooling: Here’s how.

With many parents experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic, many parents are also asking schools whether school fee structures will remain the same even though school attendance has changed. 

Mother to nine-year-old Oratile Monese says, “My daughter is in Grade 3 and she only attends school twice a week now with the Covid-19 pandemic. We have gotten an R 900 reduction in school fees from the school but to be honest I think they could’ve reduced it more in light of where we find ourselves with this pandemic.”

Also Read: More than 20 schools in SA accused of racism

Speaking in an ENCA interview about the reduction in enrollment numbers being experienced by independent schools during this period Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA) Executive Director Lebogang Montjane of the Indenependt Schools Association said, “In our category 1 and 2 schools which are the more expensive schools we’ve seen a reduction in the number of enrollments. As those numbers continue to go down we’re expecting to see greater enrollment in mid-fee schools.”

When asked is if it was fair that parents should still pay full school fees during this lockdown period Montjane stated, “Our teachers are actually working harder now than they do during full contact learning. We also did take legal advice on this and asked the question of if you are fulfilling teaching remotely, are you fulfilling it in terms of the contract and the answer was yes indeed you are.”

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