Choosing the right high school for your child is the key to their academic success, and it can even impact them later in life. And when you are deciding where to send your child, one of the first things you have to decide is whether you should send them to a public school or a private one.


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Public High Schools in South Africa 

Public schools (sometimes known as government schools) in South Africa are under immense pressure to accommodate the millions of students in need of a good education while working on an every shrinking budget. And parents are facing similar challenges, what with the price of everything, including school fees and supplies only ever going up. 

That said, there are some great advantages for sending your child to a public school. 

Advantages of Public High Schools

  • Affordability and accessibility for a wide range of students 

There is no doubt that a public school is going to be the easiest and most accessible option for most South African students. These schools are built in most areas of the country and they are usually in walking distance for most students.

  • Embracing diversity and promoting social integration 

Rich or poor, black or white, South Africa’s public schools are home to students of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. In our multicultured society, this is so important because it teaches students more about the cultures around them while also teaching them humility and to be respectful of everyone.

  • Following the national curriculum and ensuring alignment with national standards 

This is important as it ensures that students are fully understanding of South African society and expectations. This alignment can also help students reach their potential.

Disadvantages of Public High Schools

  • Limited resources and potential overcrowding 

South African public schools are in big demand and as more and more students are able to enter the system each year, there is a devastating overcrowding problem. Having too many students in a classroom will have a detrimental impact on their education and it could also influence the children to be more disruptive as the teachers have less control.

  • Challenges in maintaining individualized attention and support 

The overcrowding problem means that students who need more attention and help from their teachers won’t be able to get it. When this happens the student might struggle with their education and this could result in them falling behind their peers.

  • Perception of lower academic standards 

Although many people believe that public school don’t provide students with a good education, it is not true. Public schools can have high standards but there is some truth to the fact that some public schools are far better than others, which means you must choose the school carefully.

Private High Schools in South Africa

Private high schools in South Africa are immensely popular but while it is undeniable that these schools do offer a lot more and can sometimes provide students with a better learning environment, they also come with some disadvantages.

Advantages of Private High Schools

  • Smaller class sizes and individualized attention 

Private schools are known for having smaller classrooms which allows teachers to give students individual attention. The small classroom also means there are fewer distractions.

  • Access to specialized programmes and extracurricular activities 

Often private schools are able to offer more specialised programmes and activities to students, because these schools have better funding. The extra activities and programmes can benefit students looking for extra credits for university.

  • Enhanced facilities and resources for academic excellence 

There is no doubt that most private schools excel in their advanced facilities and resources, which are used to give students a more advanced, all-round education.

Disadvantages of Private High Schools

  • Higher tuition fees and potential financial strain for some families 

Private school comes at a huge price. Most private schools are well out of the average South Africa family’s budget. This is without a doubt the biggest disadvantage of private schooling.

  • Limited diversity and potential lack of exposure to different backgrounds 

Because these schools are so expensive, only richer students are able to attend, which in turn limits the student’s exposure to cultures and people different to themselves.

  • Pressure to perform academically

Students who are able to attend a private school can feel the pressure to succeed a lot more than students in public schools because they are aware of the expense of their education and the opportunity that they have been presented with.