Education: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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Plan ahead to open opportunities for your child.

The global pandemic that turned 2020 on its head demonstrated the value of thinking ahead. While thousands of South Africans were left without work because of the national lockdown, a significant number of knowledge workers – people whose main asset is their knowledge – were able to continue working – from home.  

According to a recent study in the US, jobs that can be performed remotely tend to be more secure and better paid than jobs that require your physical presence.  

Research conducted by Cornell University showed that the demand for jobs that require specialised Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) qualifications is at an all-time high. At the same time, the cost of teaching STEM subjects is ballooning. STEM courses and degrees are often the most expensive for high schools and universities to produce. 

“Gaining knowledge through a good education remains the surest way to safeguard financial wellbeing, but it takes long-term planning on the part of parents,” says Karabo Ramookho, Strategic Retail Marketing Manager at Old Mutual. 

While the South African government has expressed its commitment to increasing the output of more graduates with STEM degrees, the rising costs of good teachers at primary and high schools are generally passed onto parents.  

“Moms and dads may appreciate it’s the quality of education children receive before entering university that lays the foundation for their future success, but the costs of providing this quality education quickly add up,” Ramookho says.  

Cost of education  

The average cost of a year at a public primary school is currently R21 200 or about R2 120 a month if you pay over 10 months. If you choose to send your child to a private school, it’ll set you back R61 900 for the year or R6 190 per month.   

“This could be quite a significant portion of your monthly budget, if you don’t have any other financial provision to cover these costs, and excludes any additional expenses for uniforms, stationery, technology requirements (like an iPad and regular data), extramural activities, sports or club fees, and extra tuition,” Ramookho points out.

“If your child starts Grade 8 this year, prepare to cover the costs of R183 900 for their five years of public high school.  If you choose private high schooling, the costs soar to about R533 000 over the five-year period. In addition to this, you’ll need to fork out R230 600 for a three-year undergraduate degree or tertiary diploma,” says Ramookho.  

She adds that if your son or daughter wants to specialise with an honours, masters or doctorate degree in the STEM field of their choice, you will need to add the costs of several more years of studying. 

Expected cost of one year of education 2021 2029 2034 2037 
Public Primary School 21 200  39 200  57 600   72 500 
Public High School 31 300 58 000 85 200 107 400 
Private Primary School 61 900 114 500 168 300 212 000 
Private High School 90 900 168 200   247 100  311 200 
University 48 300 89 500 131 500  165 600 

*Costs are in Rands and based on education inflation of 8% per year. The amounts are rounded to the nearest hundred. The primary school costs are for Grade 1 to 7 and exclude pre-primary. University costs are for one year of an undergraduate degree. 

Planning makes it possible  

“These figures can be daunting and reinforce why it is important for parents to start planning early for their children’s future,” Ramookho says. “With the right planning, advice and focus, it is possible to give your child a strong foundation that opens opportunities. As they say, the best time to start saving is when your child is born. The second-best time to start is today.” 

No shortage of options 

“Preparing children for the future world of work amid so much disruption and uncertainty is nerve-wracking for any parent, but what is clear is that it is the most significant gift you can give your child,” Ramookho says.   

You can save and invest in your children’s valuable education in various ways. An accredited financial adviser can look at your specific situation and help you find the best financial solutions.   

Visit to get in touch with an accredited financial adviser.