Curro’s vision is to make independent-school education accessible to more learners throughout South Africa, reaching 80 schools, accommodating 80 000 learners, by 2020.
Curro is firmly of the view that the purpose of education is to empower every person with the opportunity to achieve their potential as individuals and members of society. Education is one of the cornerstones of society, providing the main strategic thrust to long-term South African development.
South African education has seen many transformations since 1994. Despite the substantial allocation of the national budget towards education, the demand for quality schools and educators remains insatiable.
Government is progressing in creating equal opportunity for all our learners, but still faces many challenges, specifically in terms of providing education at an acceptable standard. It is understandable that efforts are targeted at the most needy end of the market where the situation is the most dire.
This creates a vacuum in terms of facilities and standards at the lower to middle end of the market and for new campuses in the more affluent areas, which leads to the private sector increasingly playing its part. Section 29 of the South African Constitution enshrines and protects this role of independent schools to fill their role in this regard.
With this as background, it is clear that Curro can potentially develop a large number of independent schools across South Africa. The development of every independent school creates open spaces in state schools for new enrolments. In addition, this saves the state the capital outlay of between R50 million and R80 million to erect a school, and running costs for a mature school of more than R30 million per annum.
A joint venture between the Schools Fund and various investors will accelerate the access to quality schooling and play a supportive role to government in addressing the educational needs of South Africa in the lower-income market under the brand of Meridian independent schools.
Curro will therefore expand its group of independent schools by means of new developments and acquisitions. This strategy will not only support the public sector, but will also provide parents with additional options for their children’s education. Curro believes that independent schools will increasingly improve educational standards, which will lead to the further development of the South African population, which in turn will contribute meaningfully to enhancing economic growth.