Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Seven scholars whose parents have been financially affected by COVID-19 pandemic will be able to continue their education until the end of the year, thanks to funding from independent private school network SPARK Schools and the Ignite Education Fund.

After raising an initial round of funding from donors, the Ignite Fund awarded financial relief to the seven scholars, from SPARK Carlswald, SPARK Centurion, SPARK Ferndale and SPARK Randburg High. They will now be able to stay in school for the rest of the 2020 academic year, with their tuition costs being fully covered.

The fund was boosted by a recent charity auction run by Ignite Education Fund, with items like artworks and a tennis racquet signed by South African star Kevin Anderson going under the virtual hammer.

The COVID-19 Relief Project will continue to raise money for more SPARK families whose financial stability has been shaken by the effects of the pandemic through donations as well as an online charity auction.

SPARK Schools CEO Stacey Brewer said the network was doing everything it could to assist families who had been affected by retrenchments, salary cuts and lost income in their own businesses due to the pandemic.

“Without support, families affected by the lockdown and challenges in the current economy will be left with no alternative but to default on school fees because they have no financial safety net. This will lead to interruptions in learning for their children, creating gaps in their education that would be hard to fill in the future,” said Brewer.

The Ignite Education Fund was established in 2019 to reduce educational exclusion by giving more South African learners the chance to attend private schools. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fund has been providing a range of support to SPARK Schools families, including financial support, the provision of educational tools and materials to avoid students falling behind on their studies, and academic, social-emotional and community support to prevent lowered school attendance or dropouts.

“Many of our parents go to great lengths to give their children the best education they can, and through our partnership with Ignite Education Fund, we want to ensure that as many children as possible can continue to receive the benefits of quality private education,” said Brewer.

SPARK Schools provides private school quality education at a price point comparable to many government schools. It currently serves over 12800 families in 21 schools across Gauteng and the Western Cape, with fees ranging from R25,500 for primary school children to R33,000 per high school child – without receiving a cent in subsidies from government. SPARK Schools has also taken the decision to not increase fees for the 2021 academic year.

The Ignite Education Fund continues to approach individuals and businesses to fund-raise. More information, and application forms for SPARK Schools families, can be found at http://www.igniteeducationfund.co.za/.

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