Learners in the Mannenberg area walk to school Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency
Cape Town - There is no doubt about it. Right now in South Africa, times are tough and about to get tougher. The increase in the price of petrol and diesel and the knock-on effect it has had on everything else, means hard decisions need to be made about how the average family divvies up its monthly income.
 
And while there are areas about which there should be no debate in terms of spend - health, education, housing - it would seem many South Africans are happy to spend more or equally on entertainment than they are on education.
 
Although an increasing number of South Africans are factoring their children’s education into their monthly household budgets there are still many who do not see schooling as an important and integral part of their monthly budget.
 
Indeed, the Living Conditions Survey from Statistics South Africa, released last year, gives insight into how South Africans spend their income. According to the LCS, on average, a South African household spends R2 531 per annum on education which accounts for 2,45% of the total household consumption expenditure.
 
In comparison, households spent on average R2 181 per annum on restaurants and hotels, which accounted for 2,11% of the total household consumption expenditure and 3.81% on recreation and culture.
 
But education does not need to take a back seat or be sacrificed in favour of more hedonistic pursuits. Even with the current tough economic situation in South Africa, parents should - must - allocate a meaningful percentage of their monthly income to schooling for their children even if it is at the expense of foregoing that visit to the newest restaurant, going to the latest movie or attending that costly event or party.
 
Surprisingly there are a number of schools in SA that are actually cheaper than many public offerings.

* Adapted from a press release

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