School fees


“I do not have to pay school fees. The Constitution stipulates that every child has the right to basic education!”  Every principal of every school has probably heard this phrase before.

The Constitution however also makes provision for the limitation of rights.

According to the South African Schools Act, parents may be exempted from paying school fees in public schools if they are not financially able to do so, but they may be required to make a contribution to the school’s resources. The act further stipulates that no child may be refused admission to a public school on the grounds that their parents cannot afford to pay school fees.

When enrolling a child into a public school, the parents may request the school to provide them with the relevant “school fees policy” that sets out the amount of the fees and the procedures for the payment thereof. The policy must be approved by the School Governing Body and the financial circumstances of the parents must be taken into account.

Parents may apply annually for full or partial exemption. The school must, on receipt of an application, consider same on grounds set forth in the Act or by the Department of Education. Should the application be declined, the parents will be liable for the school fees.

Thus, parents are liable for the payment of school fees if their financial circumstances provide therefor. Should they fail to pay the fees as agreed to, then the school may hand the parents over to a collection attorney to proceed with legal action.

Should you require any further information about this topic you are welcome to contact our offices on 011 897 1900, 076 777 1920 or


Article contributed by Minette Bestbier of Tuckers Attorneys.