This is how much it costs to educate your child per day

You know that educating your children is one of the most important things you’ll ever do for them, but have you ever stopped to work out how much each day at school is actually costing you?

The cost of a child’s education is getting increasingly steeper in many locations across the country, and most school fees for 2019 increased above the rate of inflation. The total average increases for South African school fees in 2019 were as follows:

  • State schools: 8.2%
  • Private schools: 7.8%

So, how much does one day of school cost?

In South Africa, each school-going learner attends about 200 days of school a year. In this article, we’ll crunch the numbers for you so that you can get a better understanding of the true cost of each day at school.

Using a figure of R22 500, each day at school costs R112 50. But what about all the other compulsory costs and expenses you’ll incur? There’s a bit more to schooling than just the fees themselves… 

Here are some of the not-so-hidden costs to consider:

School uniforms

If your child’s school has a standard school uniform (like grey pants and black skirts with white shirts), you can shop around at the major retail clothing stores. If this is the case, a school uniform will cost between R300 to R800. However, many schools have very specific uniforms (stocked by only a handful of suppliers). If this is the case, a school blazer alone can cost almost R1 000, bringing the total uniform cost (one set) up to about R1 500. 

School uniform cost: +/- R 000 a year

Fundraising fees

What is your school’s policy on fundraising? Some schools charge a once-off fundraising fee; others require that you take part in fundraisers, such as donating cakes for bake sales. 

Fundraising fees: +/- R300 a year

Stationery fees

Does the school provide stationery, or do you have to supply your own? If your school supplies stationery for your child, there is often an extra fee in the region of R600. Or, perhaps you have the option of buying stationery yourself (possibly saving money). Nevertheless, you’re still going to have to fork out a couple of hundred rands. 

Stationery costs: +/- R600 a year

School outings and camps

How much will school outings cost, and are they compulsory? The costs of school trips can vary dramatically, but we’ll base our estimate on four days trips at R150 each. 

School outing costs: +/- R600 a year

Extra-curricular activities

Even though some schools include extra-curricular activities such as school sports and choir, you may still be expected to buy the necessary gear and equipment, as well as paying for things like trips and transport.

Extra-curricular activities: +/- R1500 a year

Little extras

Even if you’ve planned your budget carefully, you’ll still run into some unplanned costs such as gifts for teachers, a class T-shirt, or a costume for a school concert. These extras all add up. At a conservative estimate, you’re looking at +/- R500 a year. 

The total cost of a day at school

This brings the cost of school up to about R130.50 a day – at a relatively conservative estimate.

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