Not all of the big players in South Africa’s private education arena are JSE-listed investor sweethearts.
Spark made the news in October 2016 when it closed a Series B round investment of US$9 million (R121 million) with a group of investors led by the Omidyar Network. At the time, group which currently operates eight primary schools across South Africa and aims to have 20 schools by 2019, with a capacity to serve 20,000 scholars.
What made headlines however, was Spark’s plan to disrupt the education arena by introducing a private school education for less than the cost of a government school.
According to BusinessTech’s most recent research, it costs approximately R19,500 – R21,500 a year to attend an average government fee-paying school. This excludes free government schools and former model-C schools and also doesn’t factor in extra stationery, sporting and curricular activities.
In contrast, a year of tuition at a Gauteng-based Spark school will cost R19,100 in 2017 and R21,800 a year in 2018 (excluding stationery, registration etc).
“Beyond monthly tuition, we aim to limit the amount of extra costs to Spark scholars and their families,” says Spark’s website.
“Monthly tuition is the total cost for your child to attend SPARK Schools, including daily sport, computer-based practise, and enrichment activities during the extended school day (08h00 to 16h00). Aftercare is available for those families who require it and runs from dismissal to 17h30 daily.”
In addition the school will provide all necessary stationery for students upon receipt of an annual stationery fee and parents are not responsible for purchasing textbooks or replenishing school stationery.