Free education call challenged by ever-rising costs

Parents buying uniform for their children at Dimamanzi Primary Cooperative in Tsakane,
Parents buying uniform for their children at Dimamanzi Primary Cooperative in Tsakane,
Image: Antonio Muchave

Today, I made a courtesy visit to the school of my kids to effect some amendments of their documents and was reminded about the reality of costs in education which as parents we are confronted with every academic season.

As I entered the school administration block, many memories of our parents buying textbooks, stationery and paying the school fund came to mind.

And I realised we have moved many steps forward but in others steps we have moved backwards by not eradicating costs in education.

I appreciated the warmth I was received with by the officials and the principal and made a mark in my mind that there are public servants who respect their calling to serve the masses. We must not fail to acknowledge them at all times.

You can count close to R13,000 or more for a creche-going child and this escalates worse for primary school pupils.

Simply put, "educational costs means costs associated with preschool, primary, secondary and post-secondary educational programs and related expenses such as accommodation or boarding, transportation costs, tuition, books, computers, software, supplies and equipment, uniforms and other items reasonably necessary for completion of the course work or participation in the programme..."

And all these costs are exclusive of groceries and sporting equipment, events or leisure.

And it suggests that the long call for free education was a farce because costs continue to rise every year, along with the other costs of living such as food, clothing, petrol, municipal rates and electricity.

The class struggle for the working poor will never be answered by only shop-floor concessions but still dwells on engaging in societal struggles to defeat the burden of costs in life.

I totally support the #Back2School campaign to nurture a capable workforce to lead the labour markets and own the means of production.

Norman Mampane, Tisane, Limpopo

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