Parental decision-making factors for school choice: A South African middle class perspective

Beverley Shannon Blake, Raj Mestry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The crisis in the quality of South African education is evident in a growing perception among South Africans that public schooling will not be able to enhance the educational outcomes and future of their children. This has resulted in a flight trend of learners across all types of primary and secondary education. Historically (pre-1994), South African parents were not actively involved in making choices regarding the schools their children would attend. Democracy opened the door to this possibility and parents are increasingly formulating their own ideas and preferences of what an ideal school should be and offer their children. In eliciting an understanding of this new trend this study aimed to develop a base of knowledge regarding the factors influencing the school choice decision in the South African context as perceived by middle class parents. To this end, a quantitative study utilizing questionnaires was used to establish parental perceptions regarding those aspects they valued, feared, desired, considered and followed in making the best possible school-choice decision for their children’s future. The results of the research point to a plethora of factors that drive decision-making emphasising agreement with international literature but unique and complicated in nature as often the decisions parents make in South Africa stem from consequences of apartheid policies and as such need to be understood in this specific context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1046-1062
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • School choice
  • cost
  • decision-making
  • education
  • parents
  • quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management


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