Many families are struggling to cope with the expense of schooling as it is becoming more costly for parents to fork out for uniforms and stationery, among other things. And school uniforms are only supplied from specific outlets for specific schools in their areas. Due to the number of complaints that the Competition Commission received from parents, they launched a probe into a number of schools, school uniform manufacturers and suppliers for possible anti-competitive behaviour.

The investigation was launched in January 2017 and is at the advanced stage. The Department of Basic Education has also welcomed the investigation saying that there are claims that some schools have been colluding with school uniform suppliers. We asked some readers their views on the cost of schooling.

Devi Chitray

Devi Chitray
It is unfortunate that a very limited portion of the schooling population comes from the upper LSM group. With the current socio-economic standing of our country, quality basic education has become an absolute luxury. The unfortunate circumstance is that for most households acquiring the finances for these needs for that so called basic education is far becoming expensive for the average household and the demands to acquire both stationary and uniforms from specific suppliers can be viewed as completely unwarranted given their circumstances. Maybe it is time to go back to basics.

Isabelle Pillay

Isabelle Pillay
Back to school puts tremendous pressure on parents because of high cost of uniform and stationery. Many parents have to resort to borrowing money to pay for the exuberant costs. Having specialised uniforms just adds insult to injury — a bigger blow to the depleting pockets of parents who are benefitting from having specialised uniforms only the manufactures produce and I am sure the selected schools are getting a cut.
All the schools should have a set uniform that will cause life to be much easier even to households with many school going children. Parents are severely oppressed financially.

Gloria De Gee

Gloria De Gee
From our beneficiaries we serve throughout the year, I know that uniforms, school fees and stationery are a major challenge. My heart goes out to these precious people and children. Education for those who cannot afford it should be free and should have the same treatment as those who could not afford to pay. Our children suffer because of lack of funding something so important.

Thandeka Mbiko

Thandeka Mbiko
The cost of schooling has become so expensive that some kids drop out because their parents cannot afford to pay their school fees or buy them uniforms. It is a major challenge especially for the underprivileged studying at model C schools. I think the government should assist with the expenses maybe pay half and parents cover the other half otherwise people will continue to suffer as each year the prices for uniforms and stationery goes up.

Melasa Isaiah

Melasa Isaiah
School fees and stationery should be sponsored by the government. In our community majority households have low income, bearing in mind the high food prices, electricity and water bills. Many parents cannot afford to purchase stationery and school uniforms for their children and the kids are being teased at school by their peers thus this has a negative impact on the learner.
It is therefore imperative for our government to consider the learner’s well being in order for them to achieve good results academically. The well being of our learners are of utmost importance as they are our future leaders. As for uniforms parents should be free to purchase wherever it is suitable and affordable for them. Education should not be about uniforms as this puts strain on both learners and parents.

Sakheleni Mthethwa

Sakheleni Mthethwa
Schooling has become so expensive which affects families that cannot afford it and
some parents find themselves in debt because of it. It is not the uniform, it is
the stationery and not just any ordinary stationery that parents can afford. The government should provide stationery to ease the burden.