I have had the privilege of speaking with so many of Johannesburg’s school Administrators over the last years, and the one common questions I ask is: Are you aware of how your Electricity and Water/Sewage compare with other schools in Johannesburg. By far, the most common response has been a resounding NO.
The truth is, the sharing of information between schools is a very alien concept.
The effect of this is that schools function as individual SME’s, left to their own device to make their individual successes and mistakes, without understanding the consequence and without even acknowledging that the same successes and mistake are all too often being repeated within the Education system.
UNDERSTANDING THE SCALE:
There are approximately 2,730 schools in Gauteng classified as either Primary (60%) or High/Secondary (40).
From data we have collected on FirstLook of approximately 50 schools, we can come to some basic conclusions on the cost of Electricity & Water in schools:
1. PRIMARY SCHOOLS - 2016:The total combined cost of Electricity & Water in Primary schools vary between R240,000 to R4,600,000 with the majority of PRIMARY schools paying in excess of R500 000 per annum.
2. SECONDARY/HIGH SCHOOLS - 2016:The total combined cost of Electricity & Water in Secondary/High schools vary between R520,000 to R2,200,000, with the majority of SECONDARY/HIGH schools paying approximately of R1,000,000 per annum.
Utilising these “conservative average” values of R500,000 and R1,000,000 per annum, we can safely calculate the following costs:
1 614 Primary schools @ R500,000 = R 807,000,000
1 117 Secondary/High schools @ R1,000,000 = R1,117,000,000
This effectively means that the total cost of Electricity & Water/Sewage in Schools in Gauteng can conservatively be assessed at R2,000,000,000 per year (yes 2 billion Rand).
To paraphrase George Soros: You talk about a billion here and a billion there and very soon you start talking about real money!!!
Even in an age where a number, followed by 9 zeros is common, R2,000,000,000 for Electricity and Water in our schools in Gauteng must be considered real money.
We estimate this R2Billion cost can be readily reduced by at least 50%, although clear directives and objectives are needed, coupled with the right financial incentives, determination and a long-term strategy on how to achieve these ambitious goals.