A school voucher system is an efficient way for the government to make the most of the billions it spends on education, and to eradicate poor schools and teachers.
This is the view of Hermann Pretorius, campaign coordinator at the South Africa Institute of Race Relations (IRR).
According to the IRR, school vouchers can be distributed to parents in the form of smart cards and the money can only be spent on education.
The system, which is tantamount to a universal bursary system, will empower parents to buy schooling wherever they chose instead of the current system where the state decides.
The idea will introduce competition throughout the education system, as schools will have to compete for voucher-bearing customers in the form of pupils.
Schools unable to attract or retain pupils will have to close. This will ensure that schools are run in the interests of pupils, rather than in the interests of teachers.
System will improve the current schooling system
Speaking to CNBC Africa, Pretorius said the quality of education in many South African schools is lacking – and is hurting learners’ chances of receiving a good education.
He added that the ANC government’s ideological approach of gaining more and more power with regards to education is also hurting the system.
Parents whose children are not doing well at school have a very difficult route to find accountability, because of how the schooling system works, he added.
“The problem is that schools are ensured of funding whether they perform well or not. In most cases teachers are also ensured of jobs whether they perform or not,” he said.
He said parents must therefore be given more power to hold schools and teachers accountable.
“The current amount of R250 billion that the state spends each year on paying teachers and running schools should be redirected to parents in the form of vouchers worth some R12,000 each.”