The "fall" of academics in Schools in SA

This post made me think … it merits a discussion.

(Mark to move posts here … )

Indeed, Nr. 3 and 4 are my two items as well. A good education is still quite attainable in SA. What irritates me is the extreme cost. Education should not be a privilege only afforded to the rich, but increasingly it is becoming so (and keep in mind, a white guy is writing this… this has gone beyond race).

Let me say something very very controversial. You know how Afrikaans people are accused of keeping others out by using the language? I am here today to tell you that not only is it true, but it goes beyond just the language and the colour of the skin. It is increasingly becoming a game of the best schools trying to attract the best students.

What you want is the students likely to pass, because you need that good pass rate to attract more good students. You need the affluent parents to help fund the school, because state subsidies are only so much. You need those sporty kids to put you on the map. In fact, the entire education system (secondary and tertiary) is in some kind of competition to be the most excellent (in Afrikaans, uitnemendheid).

The reason? I lay that squarely at the feet of our government. When a new school is really really needed in an area, and the answer is “you’re in affluent area and the need is greater elsewhere” every time for 20 years, then what else do you expect? You can blame people all you want for keeping others out, but it’s quickly becoming a situation where the talented and well-funded kids get into the good public schools, and the rest of us end up having to go private…

(In case you’re wondering, I’m in the process of high school applications… and 2 out of the 3 is in a neighbouring town).

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Thinking of you - High school can be an expensive investment. Just got through that myself (a holiday home type price)…

High school now costs more than university. You’re talking 7k a month for some of the high end places, which is quite literally what an Engineering degree costs per year. The range is between 4.5k and 7k in our area. Thankfully my son’s first two choices are on the lower end.

I’ve had quite a few people remark on how their kids went to university, and the bill actually came down.

Another upside to Namibia of course. Since their schooling system was destroyed about two decades ago, the private options are now quite affordable.

So, on this topic on whether to emigrate, and where… let me mention that the top tax bracket in Namibia is 37% (here it is 45%), their tax system is source based (taxed only on income generated in Namibia), for education you have to go private, but there are many good options, and healthcare is not bad if you live in Windhoek, even some of the state options are not bad (eg Lady Pohamba hospital).

The best hospital you could visit is the Catholic one. Because those Nuns don’t take nonsense from anyone.

Let that sink in.

Isn’t Paarl Valley still a good school? It used to be in my time. I was in Strand High, which was also a great school back then, but further from Somerset.

Yup, that’s the 1 out of the 3 that’s local. The other two are Stellenbosch side, because we’re on the far end of Somerset.

But consider that for a moment. What are your options in our area? It is Strand Hoër, Parel Vallei, Paul Roos, or Stellenbosch Hoër. And those are the same 4 it was 20 years ago, right? Which means that in 20 years, the government were like “thanks for all the tax, but we’re spending all of it elsewhere”. By now there should have been more options, wouldn’t you say? The people didn’t get less.

My daughter started grade 8 this year. Due to various things that happened last yer, I started a home school for her. Two other kids in grade 9 joined and we have a tutor for the 3. Costs about the same as a Private school or a public school of some standard.

Best thing we ever did.



Allow me a small insight into schooling …

Our kids were in one of the better schools on this side. Exactly as @plonkster said:

  1. Pass rate? Extremely important.
  2. Parent funding? Extremely important.
  3. Sport? Extremely important.
    … all that counted.

But what got me good:

  1. The amount of money spent on sports and sports facilities … well blow me down.
  2. The kids that may not pass matric, guess what, they never wrote the exam under the school’s name.
  3. And the worst for us … most of the kids were diagnosed with ADHD, school psychologists diagnosed, so must go on Ritalin or Concerta.

So we had a huge disagreement with the principal … a BIG one. End result? Homeschooling.

But with a twist.
First, we knew a few parents seeing what we saw.
Then I thought … premises? Lo and behold, one of the parents had free premises … sorted!
Then I thought … so who is going to do the teaching The parents? (… what can possibly go wrong? :rofl: )
So we employed a full-time teacher between all the parents.
Note: Not everyone can be a programmer, engineer, scientist, Priest … or a Teacher.

Exams, we got appointed an invigilator to oversee all exams.

The subjects that needed additional insights, more in-depth care?
We found teachers at the surrounding schools who gave extra classes, teachers that are seriously passionate about their subjects, who want to teach kids, to do those classes.

Kids schooling … sorted, from Grade 8 to Matric.
Cost at the time? ±R2k per child per month.

I always have a plan a, b, c, d … z to A, B, C, D … Z to aa, bb, cc, dd … zz :wink:

There is a expensive English private highshool close to our little town, tuition is also R9k pm (I think you get R1k off per extra child IIRC)
One of my colleagues has two of her children in the school, and every year she has to plead “poverty” and ask for discount, and they get quite invasive, she has to write a motivation letter, provide bank statements and also show that their kids are still in the top whatever % in sports and academia.

I feel quite sorry for her, because there is a very decent old model C school (even closer to her house) that is R2.3k pm and very good, I know its good because it’s the one I went to :stuck_out_tongue:
But it just goes to show the lengths some parents are willing to go to give their kids the absolute best chance at a good education.

What was once good, like Eskom :wink:


I’m very supportive of homeschooling, but with one concern: What to do about sports? I’m not much concerned with academics.

Working in the garden


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Hike. Climb.
Join MCSA.

If at coast: surf, dive…

Best thing ever happened to me was I went to a school which had a stronger Outdoor Education Curriculum than anything else. Granted, not everyone wants to be outdoors, but point is about 1% of children will continue to play rugby or whatever after school years. Whereas outdoor activities yo can continue for life. And it’s a good cheaper option. And it inculcates resourcefulness. And it engenders respect for nature. And it’s healthy. And contacting the severity of the natural world develops character…


I agree, but to me schooling should first and foremost teach your child how to fit into the social world in a way that would make them successful later on in life. Being part of a sports team helps with that. You don’t need to continue playing it after school to have reaped the benefits of the activity.

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Being part of our schools hockey team made highschool way more bearable for me.

Absolutely, teams etc.
But all these other activities I mention can be done in groups where collaboration is vital, if not life saving.

Sports is already a difficult subject. The school, naturally, selects the kids who already have some measure of talent. I get that: The teacher who is coaching that team already had a full day in the classroom. That means kids with less talent end up in private sport already. Like one of my kids who is an excellent tennis player, but private.

When you apply for high school… they care about either 1) kid must have played that sport for the school, or 2) he must have played for the province or some team. The moderately good kids doing it privately end up with no sport to show for a high school application.

Which is ridiculous already. Why the heck does sport matter AT ALL for a high school application?

One of those three schools spent almost the entire open day presentation yacking about their sports, and then went to show us their sport center afterwards. Two of those schools placed more emphasis on academics and allowed us to tour the classrooms. You can guess in which order the applications was placed…

Our society. Not that you didn’t know that already.
I have known people who transplant their kids based on their love of sport, the parents’ love, that is.
We’re obsessed.

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I mean, is it honestly that weird that I would rather like to see the science classroom than the rugby field? That I would rather like to see the robotics projects than the expensive clubhouse you built? Isn’t high school about preparing someone for a career, and not just as a melting pot for the next national team?

I’m sorry, this really irks me a lot. The entire thing just mouths “you’re not good enough” repeatedly, to people who already cared more about music than sport when they grew up themselves.

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I suspect ‘wors’ does a lot of the thinking.
Wors, however, does not last long. Not like song.

If you go against the grain you’re just a woodworm.

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