,,,,,,,,Message from the President of IEASA
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Dr Roshen Kishun
President of IEASA

Naledi Pandor
The South African
Minister of education

Study South Africa:
celebrating ten years of democracy


The fourth edition of Study South Africa: Guide to South African Tertiary Education coincides with a momentous event in the history of South Africa. It is the 10th anniversary of the democracy after the 1994 elections that ended apartheid. It is time to celebrate the achievements, the development strides, and the reintegration of South Africa into the world community.

The International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) welcomes the new Minister of Education, Ms Naledi Pandor, elected to the Cabinet after the April 2004 elections. We wish her well in her new and demanding portfolio. We are confident that the Minister will support the tertiary education sector to develop linkages between international education, skilled migration and the transition to knowledge economies.

While we believe that a free and democratic contry may be the most powerful attraction for international students wishing to study in South Africa there are other reasons. South Africa is rated as a technological powerhouse on the African continent. Comparatively South Africa’s educational infrastructure can be compared with the best in the world. Its research sector is by far the strongest in Africa. The country has adopted English as one of its official languages and it is the main medium of instruction in the tertiary education sector.

A significant factor which makes South African qualifications attractive is the relatively lower cost of study. Study in South Africa offers the best of both worlds to international students, combining the experience of living in Africa with the opportunity to obtain quality education at a fraction of the cost.

In the ten years since 1994, the opening-up of the tertiary education sector in South Africa is evidenced by the dramatic increase of international students studying in the South African public education sector from about 13 000 to more than 47 000 in 2002. While the headcount numbers include distance education students, it is possible that South Africa is currently the leading host country for international students in Africa. An IDP report predicts that by 2025 almost eight million students will be educated trans-nationally. The growth in international student numbers presents South Africa with some exciting challenges in the global context. South Africa is expected to become one of the top nations in the world hosting international students in the next ten years.

Study South Africa is published in the middle of one of the most intense periods of change when the South African education system is being restructured to eliminate duplications created under the apartheid system. The number of public institutions is being reduced from 36 to 23 through mergers and incorporations. The binary divide that existed in the public higher education system pre- 2002, where there were 21 universities and 15 technikons is blurred by the creation of the universities of technology.

In spite of the massive transformation, the South African higher education sector has much to offer in the form of quality education, advanced research facilities and internationally recognized qualifications. The information provided in this Guide introduces the individual institutions, their academic offerings, support services provided and other relevant details needed to make a choice of study destination.

Study South Africa is also a useful tool in the development of a strategy to market South African higher education into the competitive world of international education. The decision by IEASA to develop a marketing strategy is not only a reaction to global higher education pressures, but is also an acknowledgement of South Africa’s return to the global higher education community and in identified geographical areas. IEASA realised that past isolation can only be overturned by conscious new strategies. This ‘marketing initiative’ meant that the presence of South Africa was highly visible at some of the leading forums dealing with international education in the world.

Study South Africa is undertaken by IEASA in association with the South African Vice-Chancellors Association (SAUVCA) and the Committee of Technikon Principals (CTP). These organizations themselves are set to merge in the near future. We appreciate the support of the Council on Higher Education (CHE), the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), Unitech (Higher Education professional body for marketing, communication and development), and Professor T Mthembu. We are most grateful to Karen MacGregor, our specialist writer, who compiled the excellent articles in this publication on achievements during the ten years of transformation.

I wish to take this opportunity of thanking all those who made contributions for their support and all the tertiary education institutions in the public education sector for their participation. We are grateful to the Department of Foreign Affairs for the distribution of the Guide abroad and to members of the IEASA publications committee for their input. We appreciate the support of Artworks Publishing for working under pressure to meet publications deadline. Special thanks are due to Zandile Wanda for the work in coordinating the response from the tertiary education sector and to Alexandra van Essche for compiling and producing the Guide. Without their efforts it would not have been possible to publish the Guide.

Roshen Kishun
www.und.ac.za/und/ieasa


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