Should I send my kids to a private school or to a public school?

Education is very important. We choose a school for our children based on our hopes of a better future for them. Given how important education is to the success of our children, we are likely to fall into the trap of choosing the school based on emotion rather than on affordability.

Busa was heavily pregnant when she called me. She wanted to know how she could go about financing the education of her soon-to-be- born child. I was shocked at what I found out. Based on a private school with annual fees of R80 000 in 2014 and assuming education inflation of 11%, it would cost Busa a total of R8,85million to put her son in a private primary school and high school and all the way to a 4-year junior degree. Her son should start grade 1 in 2021 when he turns 7. Based on an estimated 10% return on her funds, Busa would have to save at least R7 190 monthly from the month her baby is born, to afford the fees.

The choice between a public or a private school is an important question that must be well thought out. In my experience, many of us make this decision based on emotion rather than on affordability. You don’t want your child’s school fees to be so high for you that you expect miraculous performance from your child or you even resent the child especially if the child doesn’t perform well. Money is one of the biggest causes of tension in relationships, so don’t let high school fees get in the way of a happy family life. You, the parent, are making this decision so make it wisely. Don’t expect miraculous school performance from a child simply because you are paying high school fees. I hope you will take my humble opinion in making this very important decision.

What to expect if you send your kids to a private school

  • As illustrated above, you will pay through your nose.
  • Some private schools charge fees of R90 000 for a primary school education. Please note this is NOT a boarding school, it is a day school. If you add boarding fees, the school fees could be as high as R150 000 in some private schools.
  • Some schools require you to buy a smart phone for your kids as well as a certain brand of laptop – they will not give support to your kid’s laptop if it is not the brand they recommend.
  • Private schools generally send kids on overseas trips from about grade 8 to grade 12. The cost of these trips range around R25 000 per trip before pocket money, visas, travel insurance and airport taxes. Think about how your child would feel if you send them to such a school and they can never go on any of these trips.
  • The fees quoted by private schools exclude the cost of books, stationery, school uniforms, sports equipment and uniforms, excursions, etc…


  • Find out what the annual fee of the school you intend sending your child to.
  • Annual school fee increases are generally in excess of inflation so add at least a 11% increment to the fees to estimate what the fees will be over the term of your child’s education.
  • Keep in mind the other costs as mentioned above.
  • Check what the monthly school fees are [most schools would give you an option to pay the fees monthly]. What percentage are the fees to your monthly salary? If they are anything over 15%, you are most likely breaking your back to send your child to a private school.
  • Have you saved for your kids post matric education? If not, you need to balance things out and send your kids to a school where you can afford the fees and still save for their university education.

Some key points on optimising the success of our children’s schooling:

  • There are still some very good public that produce 100% matric pass rate and yet the fees are very reasonable.
  • The success of our children is not necessarily based on the type of school the child attended.
  • If we give our children extra maths lessons from an early age [even if they don’t need them], they are likely to do well at school. An acquaintance of mine gave her brilliant daughter extra maths lessons from grade 1. She finished matric a year ago with 7 distinctions and she is now studying actuarial science at UCT. Did she need the extra maths lessons? NO, but the extra lessons certainly gave her an urge. Mathematics remains one of the critical subjects that would determine how well our kids do in school.
  • If we read to our children from an early age and encourage them to read as much as possible, they are likely to do better at school. That will most likely mean switching off the TV especially during the week.
  • The education of our children is a joint effort between the school and us as parents. We must still be actively involved in the education of our children to maximise the chances of a happy and successful school life.
  • An expensive private school education is no guarantee for a successful career.

Do you need help saving for the education of your children? Drop me an email at

I would also love to hear your views on the matter. Please pass the article onto other moms and dads.

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Should you buy property to rent it out? Some of your responses

Hi Phumelele,

Every now and then your newsletter pop up in my e-mail. You do such a wonderful job to educate and uplift people.

The nation must be thankful for a “true mother”, like you to educate and uplift them and set examples for them. Keep up the good work.

I have great admiration for you and I hope  we will met somewhere along the line.

Kind regards

Jeanie Nel


I am one of the students of Stellenbosch University who bought one copy of the book titled:” From Debt to Riches” in CNA bookshop in Stellenbosch Mall. I am enjoying reading the book everyday, thus I am requesting you if possible to send me another copy of a book titled: “7 secrets why the rich own their homes”. I went at the same shop to check the copy of this book, they could not assist me because there was no copy in their shop. Where possible please advise me accordingly.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,


Phumelele’s response to Steven

Sorry Steven, the first book was so good it was completely sold out. There will not be any reprints as there has been legislative changes impacting on the content of the book


Dear Phumelele

I really enjoy reading your articles.  Very informative, true and straight to the point.

Have a good one.



Find out why over 9 000 copies have been sold; the book is available at CNA, Exclusives books or Adams near you for only R134 a copy.







Warm regards 


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