||The South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996), as amended (SASA), was further amended by the Education Laws Amendment Act, 2005 (Act 24 of 2005). These amendments came into effect on 26 January 2006, which was the publication date of the amendment in the Government Gazette (GG No. 28426 of 26 January 2006).
||The amended SASA defines school fees as follows:
"School fees means school fees contemplated in terms of Section 39 and includes any form of contribution of a monetary nature made or paid by a person or body in relation to the attendance or participation by a learner in a programme of a public school."
||The Education Laws Amendment Act, 2005 (Act 24 of 2005) added subsections (5) and (6) to Section 39 of SASA. These sub-sections read as follows:
"(5) No public school may charge any registration, administration or other fees except school fees as defined in Section 1 and;
(6) A public school may not charge a parent of a learner at that school different school fees based on a curriculum or extramural curriculum within the same grade."
||The above amendments have the following implications for schools:
||In terms of Section 39(5) of the SASA, schools may not charge any registration, administration or other fee, except school fees. This means that a school should determine its school fees in accordance with Section 38 of SASA and the school fees determined in that way should be the only fees charged to parents. No additional fees such as registration fees, administration fees or any other fees may be charged to parents.
||In terms of Section 39(6) of SASA, schools may not charge a parent of a learner different school fees based on the curriculum or the extramural curriculum within the same grade. This means that schools may charge different school fees for different grades if it was so decided by the meeting of parents in terms of Section 38 of SASA. (It is envisaged that schools may determine, for instance, that the education of Grade 12 learners is more expensive than that of Grade 8 learners and may for this reason set different fees for Grades 8 and 12.)
Schools may, however, not charge different school fees to learners within the same grade based on the curriculum or extramural curriculum offered in the school programme. This means that where a school offers additional subjects and extramural activities to a particular grade, the school fees for all the learners in that grade should be the same, irrespective of whether or not they participate in the additional subjects and extramural activities provided by the school.
Thus a learner who does not take all the subjects or does not participate in all the extramural curriculum activities offered in the school programme must pay the same school fees as a learner who does. This does not apply to subjects or extramural activities that do not form part of the school programme.
If a school decides on subjects or extramural activities, which do not form part of its normal school programme for a particular year, such subjects and activities can be funded through fund-raising events or by requesting additional contributions from parents. However, participation in such events must be voluntary, as must be any contribution thereto.
||Schools that have been declared "no-fee schools" may also not charge any additional fees for curriculum or extramural curriculum activities offered in the school programme, including the costs associated with any excursions, materials, etc. required for these subjects and activities. This, however, also does not apply to the subjects or extramural activities that do not form part of the school programme.
||Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all concerned.
SIGNED: L.J. ELY