President of IEASA
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
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
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 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
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.