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Education cost amid Covid – Breaking down the elephant with your client

A Sanlam independently commissioned survey on educational savings in South Africa showed that most participants save under R20 000 for education a year. Once school fees are deducted, that leaves little wiggle room for extras.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents had to fork out even more for their children’s schooling than they did pre-COVID-19: think digital enablement, personal safety, and emotional wellbeing.

What are the hidden costs that you client needs to be aware of? André Wentzel, Solutions Manager at Sanlam, breaks it down:

1. Devices

In 2020 many parents found themselves having to purchase online equipment such as laptops and other digital devices when schools were closed as a result of COVID-19, to ensure continuous learning via online platforms. Many private schools have reverted to online learning at the start of 2021 as a result of the two-week reopening delay. Therefore, parents need to consider making provision for the costs of devices should schools reopening be delayed even further, forcing more schools to revert to online learning. With computer coding and robotics on the cards as new subjects for more schools next year, according to the Department of Basic Education Director-General, Mathanzima Mweli, this would also require electronic devices to be purchased.

2. Emotional well-being

Many children are battling the emotional fall-out of COVID-19 and may need professional support. While some schools are lucky enough to have counsellors on-site, learners may need the additional support of a life coach or psychologist and this can cost anything from R750 -R1200 per session.

Clinical psychologist, Irene Streeten, explains that the COVID-19 pandemic has created various levels of anxiety, one of them being that the new strain in the second wave affects children more severely, carrying a direct threat to children, with schools becoming less of a safe space. The lockdown has also had a serious impact on socialisation which can cause children to become withdrawn and depressed or even rebellious.

While COVID-19 itself is the designated pandemic, anxiety and depression have been labelled the shadow pandemics because they are the two main emotional consequences of the pandemic and lockdown, notes Streeten.

3. Health and safety costs

To ensure children adhere to COVID-19 safety regulations, there will be costs involved for face masks, face shields and hand sanitiser. Furthermore, parents are also urged to ensure their children are taking multivitamins every day and giving them good nutrition to build up their immune systems against the virus.

Click here to download the Sanlam media release.

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