Parents obliged to pay school fees under lockdown, unless exempted
As many South Africans feel the financial squeeze exacted by the national lockdown, there are parents questioning why full school fees are payable when their kids are currently reliant on distance learning and virtual classrooms.
Paying school fees is a statutory obligation says Paul Colditz, CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas).
This means the law says that you must pay. It's very much like taxes. If you earn an income you must pay income tax, whether you receive services for that tax you're paying or not.Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools
The Schools Act prescribes that school fees are payable by those parents who can afford to pay.Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools
He notes that there are criteria governing exemption from paying school fees, but parents cannot simply withhold payments because they are not receiving services.
Whereas you don't have a process for exemption from payment of taxes. there is provision in the regulations for the exemption of the payment of school fees by parents... Parents can, if they have no income - if they've lost their job or if their income has been reduced - apply to the school governing body for an exemption.Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools
Colditz describes school fees as an indirect tax and points out that while a school building may be closed it doesn't necessarily mean the school is closed.
It still has its own bills to pay like water and electricity, salaries for additional staff etcetera.Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools
We estimate that there are about 150,000 teachers and non-teaching staff employed by school governing bodies throughout the country. So if parents are not going to pay - those who can afford to do so - then the jobs of 150,000 people are on the line and we've already seen the retrenchments because schools can no longer afford to pay those salaries.Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools
He says member schools across the country have reported that they are "in serious trouble" and requests to the minister of education for additional funding have not yielded any results.
Schools simply have to make do with what they are getting but our plea to parents, those who can afford, please pay those school fees. The school needs to re-open and function properly once the lockdown has ended.Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools
Colditz also discusses the sliding scale which determines when a parent qualifies for exemption.
Listen to the interview below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Parents obliged to pay school fees under lockdown, unless exempted
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