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Private school fees jump eight percent

MBONGENI MGUNI
Private schools raised their fees by an average of 8.2% in the first term of 2018.

The numbers are contained in the Bank of Botswana’s (BoB) 2018 Monetary Policy Statement launched by governor, Moses Pelaelo earlier this morning.

Data from BoB indicates that school fees went up by 8.5% over the same period last year. The increases, according to the central bank, added 0.11 percent to inflation in the first quarter of the year.

Statistics Botswana numbers for January suggest that the private pre-primary and primary education sector received the bulk of the increases in 2018, as opposed to the secondary and tertiary sector.

Parents have long lobbied legislators to regulate the private school arena, where institutions traditionally review their fees every first term.

With many of the schools hiking their fees arbitrarily and often above inflation, parents and other commentators have

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cried out about the “commodification of education”.

The country’s most expensive private schools are presently ranging above P20,000 per term excluding “development levies” and other fees. The schools have argued that their fees are justified by the level and continual improvement of resources including academics, infrastructure and amenities.

The schools, in previous position papers, have said government-fixed fees would “deter future private school investors, discourage further development of school's infrastructure, erode the capacity to attract and retain the best teachers and add more employees to government bulging payroll”.

Other commentators have said parents who put their children in private schools must be prepared to cope with the arbitrary increases in fees and should not expect the subsidised fees charged within public sector schools.



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