As any parent knows, when it comes to affording quality education for our children, we need all the help we can get. Escalating school fees, continual costs of uniforms and many extras make educating our children a significant, long-term family expense. Quality education features high on the UN’s list of 17 sustainable development goals, and South Africa is a signatory to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which recognizes the vital role that education plays in improving lives.
There’s probably no more universally common drive than the one parents have to set their child on the path to a better world. We know that education is a key to unlock opportunity and enable our children to grow into productive, fulfilled citizens. But can we afford it? According to Stats SA, one in five qualified learners are currently unable to attend a school or a tertiary institution due to lack of funds; and two-thirds of pupils do not pay school fees, putting an additional strain on public funding.
Each child spends around 200 days a year at school. Based on former Model C school fees, a South African school day typically costs R122.50, and a 200-day school year is R24 500.00 for one child. As Millennials rise to become the majority parenting generation, how will these digital natives who embrace disruption and innovation save most effectively for their children’s education?
An option that is on the rise is the bursary-building platform School-Days. By interacting with brands and mobilizing family and friend support, parents are actively saving towards the quality education of their children. A School-Days bursary can be built for the school, college, and university. Dis-Chem, recognizing the need for education funding in South Africa, was the first corporate entity to put their weight behind School-Days. Lynne Blignaut, Group Customer Services Head at Dis-Chem expressed that purpose in telling “Our customers, and their families have education as the heartbeat of their homes, and partnering with School-Days is our way of supporting that.”
School-Days founder, Chris Nel says, “We’re delighted at the response and salute our partners like Dis-Chem, who have so far contributed R22.8 million to family bursaries, and together we have grown the number of paid-for school days to 190 265 that can now be paid for.”
A major boost to the platform is the recent on-boarding of the Exact brand of TFG (The Foschini Group) which has 309 stores across the country. Nikki Crous, Head of Marketing at Exact, says, “It’s a perfect fit for Exact to become part of the School-Days bursary platform. As a brand, with family at the heart of everything we do, we know how much quality education means to our customers and South Africans want their consumer spend to be able to contribute to something meaningful and tangible in their lives. Exact cares and is committed to helping children across South Africa gain access to quality education, and the School-Days platform is the perfect means to empower families to make it happen.”
Other new School-Days partners include Day1 Health, an authorized financial services provider offering affordable private health care packages. They will make a monthly contribution to their members’ bursaries based on a percentage of the plans ranging from R265 to R760. Opportunities to build the family bursary will be further increased as premier florist and gifting service, NetFlorist and online computer store FirstShop also become School-Days partners in the upcoming months
The good news is that you as the parent do not have to go it alone. The flexible platform enables your friends and family members to connect and contribute to your bursary. This can be just through swiping their linked cards at the till points or by actively boosting the bursary with gift contributions that can be used towards both school and tertiary education.
“There’s a huge advantage for the modern family in having school days that are paid for,” says Nel, “Educating our children well is one of the greatest concerns for parents, and society. It’s a great opportunity to bring together brands that care and family and friends to give today’s parents more prospects to fund quality education of our future generations.”