7 reasons why South Africa needs school choice vouchers

School choice vouchers are an effective way of empowering disadvantaged families to have a greater say over their children’s education. Here are seven ways South Africa would benefit from this voucher system.

In some countries, there is a school choice voucher policy, where the government gives financial assistance to families that are in need. These funds could be used to supplement the costs of attending a better school in one’s city. This public policy and pro-liberty innovation empower families to have a greater say in their children’s education and should be implemented in South Africa. But what are the benefits of this policy, which has been implemented in many countries around the world, including Chile, the United States of America and Sweden?


  1. Schools are encouraged to improve the quality of their education, to attract more learners.

The school choice vouchers allow parents to remove their children from underperforming schools, so that their education isn’t compromised by poor education. The ease with which a person could leave a school would encourage schools to compete for enrolments, by improving their quality.


  1. A school choice voucher system would create equal opportunities for everyone.

South Africa has high levels of poverty, which have been exacerbated by the ANC government’s economically destructive policies. If the government chose to implement this policy, children who reside in informal settlements with limited opportunities would be given the same opportunities as children who are based in the suburbs.


  1. High-performing learners could transfer to schools where teachers are committed and professional.

According to a document released by the Department of Basic Education, 10% of teachers were absent in 2019. In 2010, numerous schools across the country shut down when teacher unions encouraged strikes. School choice vouchers would empower parents to save their children from attending schools that hire “activist” educators.


  1. School vouchers would leave incompetent politicians with less say over your child’s education.

Maladministration is rife in South Africa, due to the incompetence of our country’s politicians. Having these vouchers would allow parents to pick a school of their choosing for their children, which includes options in the private sector. The most convenient option would no longer be the local public school, which could be in a poor state due to the government’s incompetence.


  1. Fewer funds would be left for corrupt politicians.

If South African politicians had a “brand” – that is, an idea that most members of the public associated their image with, it would probably be corruption. A benefit of the school choice voucher program would that it disempowers the corrupt by limiting their access public funds and by giving it to parents in the form of vouchers.


  1. Children would be saved from schools that have a zero percent pass rate.

In South Africa, some schools have pass rates of 0% for the matric exams; by implementing a school choice voucher system, children have the freedom to avoid the schools that are bogged down by systemic problems, such as high levels of teacher absenteeism, poor school management, or government’s failure to procure enough learning materials on time.


  1. These choice vouchers would encourage businesses to create educational opportunities for children in the private sector.

Giving parents school choice vouchers would cause the size of the market for education to increase, as more people would have money to spend on their children’s education. School-choice vouchers would stimulate a positive response from the private sector, as businesses would try to create value for families in exchange for the vouchers.

School choice vouchers are an innovative policy offering by the government. In countries such as the United States of America, implementing this policy has created opportunities for youth in disadvantaged circumstances. The South African government should consider implementing a similar policy domestically, so that the benefits of school vouchers can be extended to our youth.


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