Should parents still pay the full school fees in light of the shutdown?

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The department of basic education has answered a few pertinent questions about the financial implication of schools shutting down during these trying times.

From Wednesday, schools will be officially closed until the 14th of April due to the outbreak of the coronavirus that has been declared a national disaster.

To put this into context: Schools were meant to close on the 20th of March and reopen on the 31st of March. Therefore, kids are going to be home for an extra 10 days.

This not only creates a disruption for their curriculum and for their parents, but there is also a financial implication to this.

Yesterday, we spoke to the spokesperson of Basic Education Elijah Mhlanga, asking him whether parents will be liable for the full payment of fees for April. This is because parents are going to have to make alternative plans to look after the kids.

They will either have to:

i) Take unpaid leave to be at home
ii) Pay someone to take care of the kids

Mhlanga asked: “Are fees calculated as a daily rate, or every month?” He later acknowledged the financial disruption this was creating. He stated that “80%-90% of school goers are in public schools, and therefore pay no fees.”

But not all public schools are no fee-paying schools.

In the context of private schools, Mhlanga stated that parents and private institutions signed a contract at the commencement of the school year. This contract should then stipulate what should happen if the country declares a national disaster.

“My daughter attends a private school, and our school contract does not have a stipulation for such eventualities,” one mom responded.

Some private schools have made e-learning available to their students, meaning the curriculum will continue.

ALSO READ: How will school closures due to Coronavirus affect your children’s progress? A teacher explains

For the rest of the students that don’t have this option, fees will be paid as per normal.
On the 1st of April 2020, the Department of Basic Education confirmed that parents will indeed be liable for the full payment of fess even with the school shutdown. Mahlangu further stated that the department is monitoring the situation closely and will decide if a different decision needs to be taken.
The department has also introduced e-learning which means, for parents with internet access, the kid’s education can continue.

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