An assessment of school fees : implications for non-payment
Verbeek, Peter A
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Sedibeng-East is an education district in the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and is located in the south-east of Gauteng. Sedibeng-East encompasses an area that stretches from Vereeniging in the west to Heidelberg in the east. In 2003, 58 262 learners were enrolled at 109 schools in Gauteng and were taught by 1 780 educators, while in South Africa, a total of 11 744 013 learners were taught by 339 179 educators at 25 840 public schools and 294 909 learners were taught by 23 419 educators at 1 005 independent schools. The South African Schools Act (Act No. 84 of 1996) forms the legal framework within which the School Governing Body (SGB), in their capacity of school governance, and the School Management Team (SMT), in their capacity of managing the school, manage public funds to ensure that effective education and the attainment of educational goals at the school can take place. This Act ensures that public schools are funded on an equitable basis and that the SGB takes reasonable measures to supplement the resources supplied by the State. In addition, the SGB must ensure that parents pay school fees, that school funds are properly managed and that financial statements are audited at the end of the school and financial year. The monetary change in the provincial budgets substantially for the taxation period of 2001/2002 to for education increased 2004/2005, while the real change in education (the provincial budget for education in comparison to the other provincial departments) increased only very marginally, detailing the fact that the real change does not mirror the monetary change in value. The same trend is discerned in the personnel and the non-personnel expenditure of the different Provincial Departments of Education (PDoEs), detailing the fact that more staff are appointed in other provincial departments than educators who are additionally employed. In addition, the different PDoEs are actually not increasing the budgets needed by the schoots to ensure that infra-structural and Learner Support Material (LSM) needs are satisfied and catered towards to ensure that educational goals are attained and that effective education can take place within the province. It is with the best interests of the learners in mind that bad debts (as incurred by the non-payment of school fees) are experienced as devastating to the future of school education in South Africa. A self-administered questionnaire was therefore sent out to the school managers of 91 schools in Sedibeng-East to investigate the issue of nonpayment of school fees. In total, 45 school managers (49.5%) completed the self-administered questionnaires and returned these to the two District Offices in Vereeniging and Heidelberg. This response means that the research is statistically relevant and adds value to the study. Data was captured and analysed detailing the financial background of respondents, financial data pertaining to the percentage and the amount of bad debt of schools, the reasons for and possible solutions to the problem of parents not complying with the policy requirements to pay school fees. The study wished to assess the possible effect of non-payment of school fees (bad debt) on the management of the school by its managers.
- Education