The Necessity of an Education Benefit

28 Nov 2018

… because doesn’t every child in South Africa deserve the best education?

There’s no question that a major financial burden of most parents with age-appropriate children is the cost of school fees and other expenses associated with providing children with the best education they can get.

And unfortunately, these costs rise every year, sometimes at a rate higher than inflation, which puts further strain on South African families.

Unfortunately, very few employers are able to offer a bursary or scholarship scheme for their employees’ children and, where a bursary or scholarship is available, it is only granted to limited individuals who fulfil specific criteria.

Based on research conducted by EY (Ernst and Young), requests for personal loans increase every year and, not surprisingly, at the start of every year.

For the most part, it seems that the reason for these requests are due largely to educational costs, including uniforms, stationery and books.

But what many parents and companies are unaware of is that employers can make a real difference in the lives of their staff by offering them an Education Benefit, an innovative way to alleviate some of the burden associated with the education costs borne by employees.

Due to a recent update in the Income Tax Act, employers now have the opportunity to make a real difference in their workers’ lives by allowing the funding of education from pre-tax income, thereby increasing employees take-home pay. (It is important to note that when structured correctly, this does not increase the employees’ total cost of employment.)

As an employee of an organisation, you may qualify for this benefit and therefore could be looking at a higher take-home amount each month.

To see if you meet the minimum criteria, answer the three easy questions below:

  • Do you earn between R78 150 and R600 000 per annum? (R6 512.50 – R50 000 per month)
  • Are you financially responsible for the education costs of a child/children that will be the beneficiary of the benefit?
  • Is the child/children studying at a recognised educational institution?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions you may want to speak to your employer about introducing this benefit to your organisation.

So, now you’re interested, but what are the advantages of the Education Benefit to both employers and employees?

  • By offering the Education Benefit to qualifying employees, employers are able to increase the take-home pay for individuals without increasing the cost of employment to the organisation.
  • By making such a tangible and significant difference in the lives of their employee’s organisations can position themselves as an employer of choice for talent in the marketplace.

In order to minimise the administrative burden of implementing this benefit, SPARK Schools has partnered with EY to assist organisations with an end-to-end solution, enabling employers to implement this benefit with minimal effort.

SPARK Schools truly understands the importance of high-quality education in the lives of all South Africans, and therefore we have partnered with EY in order to offer this Education Benefit to our own employees.

Now, not only are we making a difference in the lives of our scholars, but our own employees have been able to access globally competitive, private education for their families at no additional cost to them or to SPARK Schools.

If you are an employee of an organisation that is not yet aware of this new benefit and you would like a representative to assist your employer with implementing this solution, please contact Nomfundo Chirwa at for assistance or for more information.