With a new academic year just around the corner, the expenses that parents with school children have are back.
A recent survey found that parents are struggling to pay school fees. This is largely attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic.
TPN Credit Bureau CEO Michelle Dickens says they observed a massive loss of employment during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. She revealed that the 2.2 million people who are currently unemployed were employed at the start of the pandemic.
This as people were encouraged to stay home and stop the spread of the virus. Many people who were self-employed had their income decimated, further limiting their ability to pay school fees.
“Without an income or a permanent source of income this is going to play an incredibly difficult role on people's ability to continue to pay the credit that they already have and to also pay for living expenses things that aren't necessarily just credit expenses” explained Dickens.
She added that these non-credit expenses include rent, school fees, health costs and grocery costs — some of which cannot be compromised. She explains that these non credit items often account for 67% of an average consumer's income.
With a new school year beginning soon, parents have to make provision for school uniforms, fees and learning supplies.
Dickens adds that only 50% of school fees were paid up to date during the first lockdown in 2020. In 2021, TPN credit found that around 40% of school fees were not paid, 25% of which are total non-payment of fees. The other 15% is partial payment.
She explains that this often results in schools cutting back on staff on the payroll including temporary teachers and groundsmen.
“Two thirds of schools cut back on some form of expenditure but it was where they made those cutbacks and more people ended up unemployed or retrenched or on shorter hours on less income feeding back into that unemployment cycle we're seeing” concluded Dickens.