Education costs rises double that of inflation

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by Deneesha Pillay

Statistics SA figures on the cost of education indicate consumers who have children will come under financial pressure.

The cost of education rose by 9.3% in March compared to March last year. This is 5.3% higher than the headline inflation figure of 4% year-on-year for the same month, according to the statistics SA data. The data was based on fees charged by schools and tertiary institutions.

Education inflation consistently outstripped inflation, said statistics SA. It said: “South African households will have to make more room in their budgets to pay for rising tuition fees.”

Old Mutual estimated that if a child started Grade R this year, a complete education — including primary school, high school and three years of university — would cost just less than R1m for public school tuition or R2.2m for private school tuition (in nominal terms).

Statistics SA acknowledged — as has been said by unions calling for free tertiary education — that rising costs were a barrier to education.

The agency’s latest General Household Survey shows that 33% of individuals up to the age of 24 cited a lack of money as the reason for not attending an educational institution.

Broken down by province, the figure was 45% in KwaZulu-Natal and as low as 21% in the Western Cape. Although the Northern Cape exhibited a 59% increase in education costs between 2010 and this year, only 22% of those aged 5–24 indicated a lack of money as a barrier to education.

The weak rand was identified as a factor that increased the cost of imported books and materials.

Statistics SA’s report on the financial status of higher education institutions showed expenses increased 12% in 2013 compared with 2012, increasing from R41.4bn to R46.2bn.

source: The Herald / Business Day

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