South Africa – Private, affordable education for townships?
Johannesburg – Kagiso Trust is set to enter the low-fee private school sector, with a specific focus on township schools.
The City Press reported that the trust, which was established in 1985 as a mechanism to channel funds to promote the struggle against apartheid, made the announcement today at a media conference that it organised to announce the launch of a series of events to celebrate 30 years of community development work.
“There will be a major announcement by Kagiso Capital before the end of the year. We are busy in discussions with other players in the sector. We will either go alone or buy into existing players in the sector,” Kagiso Trust chief executive Kgotso Shoeman said.
He said Kagiso Capital, an investment arm of the trust, had identified an opening in the market for private education in South Africa’s townships.
“We know we will play a huge role in the space. We are in talks with provincial governments to lease empty schools in order to take private and affordable education into the townships. There is a huge growth into the sector. The middle class is going to pay for the education of their children, but we want to make it affordable for them.”
The business plan has not been finalised, but whatever is done has to be affordable and accessible, he said.
“They will be schools that anyone in the township who has prioritised education should be able to afford.”
In the past five years South Africa has seen an explosion of low-fee private schools, primarily driven by government education that is seen as substandard.
The biggest player in the sector is Curro, which has a number of schools catering for different segments of the middle class.
Last year Pearson also announced that it would invest about R28m to establish a chain of low-fee private schools.