Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 12:22 pm

Today marks World Children’s Day which is celebrated on 20 November every year. This day was established by the United Nations (UN) in 1954 and is marked to “promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.”

Education is a big topic in 2020, considering that children worldwide lost out on valuable classroom time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stacey Brewer, the co-founder of independent school network SPARK Schools says there are not enough middle- to low-cost schools to serve the 12 million school-going children in South Africa. 

Until a few years ago, South African parents wanting to give their children the best possible education either had to bite the bullet to pay for private schooling or take their chances in the government schooling system. There is a rise of a generation of new schools that create a middle ground for parents. These schools are of private school quality but with affordable fees like government schools. 

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According to SPARK School’s market research, three key factors stand out when parents choose a new school for their children: 

  • Affordability
  • Safety 
  • Quality of education. 

Some parents will pay up to 20% of their income to secure the best possible schooling for their children.

ASLO SEE: Meet Kristen Lisa Strahlendorf! Living & Loving’s resident Educational Psychologist

Other factors influencing the choice of a school include proximity to home or work, the availability of extra-mural activities, and a positive culture and values. And while most parents care about academic achievement as part of quality education, they also want an education that develops real-world skills – social, thinking, and emotional skills – and prepares their children for a life beyond school.

Affordability and quality are a priority for SPARK Schools, with fees ranging between R23 000 and R33 000 for primary and high school going learners respectively. 

They are taking the current education crisis as an opportunity to create change in the schooling system by providing parents with an opportunity to invest in their children’s future. 

SPARK Schools pushes the minimum learning requirements in their schools while aligning themselves with national standards. For example, a Grade R is required to know how to count to 10, and a SPARK Schools Grade R learner can count to 100. 

SPARK Schools are also keeping up with the fourth industrial revolution and have integrated the use of technology extensively in the classroom. This will allow learners to be able to be ready for the big world post-school.