How former Curro CEO built SA’s largest private-school


Chris van der Merwe and his wife Stephanie opened their own school in the vestry of a church in Cape Town in 1998 after the Department of Education rejected his application.

Curro Independent school grew to become South Africa’s largest private-school business with more than 120 schools and over 47 000 pupils.

Curro was able to generate profit by providing private school education at the same price as public schools. They therefore focus on building schools cost-effectively to reduce tuition fees.

“I literally built the first fully-fledged Curro school with 10 bricklayers and builders, and here we discovered we can give the community affordable private-school education because we built affordably. And to this day that’s part of the recipe.” – Chris van der Merwe


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