Schools may not insist on a registration fee

by | Feb 16, 2021 | Personal Finance

Every parent dreads the expenses that comes with children returning to school. Uniforms, stationery, transport fees, lunches and extra-curricular activities all add to the financial woes of already struggling consumers.

So it certainly does not sit well when schools demand a registration fee – and refuse to register a learner for admission.

As a result, this practice has forced the Department of Basic Education to send out an urgent public notice. It stated that parents are not legally bound to pay registration fees. In addition, it demanded schools to not participate in these illegal practices.

Basic Education Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says parents must refuse to pay. The department has been inundated with calls from parents around the country whose children couldn’t be registered because they were not able to pay the fee. However, schools may not insist on a registration fee.

Therefore, Mhlanga warned all school governing bodies and principals to “refrain from this illegal practice as it puts unnecessary pressure on parents’’.

“The department has received a lot of complaints from parents who indicate that schools are engaging in this unlawful practice. So this is a warning from the Department of Basic Education to advise schools to refrain from this particular activity. It generates unnecessary tension between parents and schools. And it creates a lot of pressure from parents as they think they need to pay monies for their children to be admitted when in fact this is not true,” said Mhlanga.

He went on to say that the number of children turned away over the inability to pay registration fees is not known, because the department only received complaints.
Asking whether this is a problem every year, Mhlanga said this year was the first. And it was “due to Covid-19 and loss of jobs. More parents are now feeling the pinch.”

The Minister of Basic Education has also said that schools asking for registration fees is illegal and “completely unreasonable. Especially as it is done and enforced under the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Thus, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) is encouraging parents to report schools that demand registration fees as a pre-condition to enrol their children.

Recent statistics show that the finances of 80% of South African households have been negatively affected since the onset of Covid lockdowns. There is certainly no shame in struggling with everyday living expenses, school expenses and monthly debt installments.

If you receive a weekly wage or monthly salary, yet you are still not able to make ends meet and feel overwhelmed by your finances, make contact NDA today. There really is nothing to lose by reaching out.

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