NON-STATE ACTORS IN EDUCATION
2.2 Non-state education provision
3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education
- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
3.2 Supplementary private tutoring
While non-state actors operating in the education system are not explicitly defined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 (last amended in 2012) and the South African School’s Act 1996 (as amended in 2011), both documents refer to “independent” schools which “any person” has the right to establish and maintain. At the early childhood education level, the Children’s Act 2005 (promulgated in 2010) only refers to a “person or organisation”, while the Education White Paper on Early Childhood Education 2001 refers to a “private individual or the community”. The Higher Education Act of 1997 (as amended in 2012) refers to “local or foreign juristic persons” which have the right to establish and operate “private higher education institutions”. According to the White Paper on Education and Training of 1995, schools are distinguished as “state, state-aided, and independent”, the latter of which may be owned by “non-government, community-based and private providers” claiming it is “generally assumed that schools are organised into (these) three categories”, but “the situation is not that simple”, indicating an acknowledgement of the complexity of non-state provision in the country.
2.1 State education provision
Most education (92% of schools, 95% of enrolments) at primary (7 years, ages 7 – 13) and secondary level (5 years, ages 14 – 18) in South Africa is provided by the state, which covers over 95% of total enrolments in both education levels. The state is obliged to provide 9 years of compulsory education (ages 7 – 15) at single-sex or co-educational schools (South African School’s Act 1996). While state education is not free by law in South Africa, each Provincial Education Department identifies schools in lower socioeconomic quintiles as “no fee schools” which are prohibited from charging any fees. Other state schools may only charge tuition fees if they are based on equitable criteria, as well as partial or conditional exemptions for families who are unable to pay school fees. In 2014, 60% of state schools in South Africa were declared as no-fee schools.
Non-state managed, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state funded, state schools
No information was found.
2.2 Non-state education provision
Independent, non-state schools
Independent schools are non-state schools which are owned, managed, and operated by different kind of legal entities including companies, corporations, foundations, or trusts, often following their own distinctive missions based on a common culture, religion, philosophy, or language. A broad definition of ‘independent’ school is used in official sources, with a great variation among different schools. Independent schools can vary substantially in terms of population served (ranging from low-income to high-income families), fee structure (low-fee to high-fee institutions), identity (secular or religious), and profit-orientation (for-profit or non-profit institutions). They are free to adopt their own curriculum, examinations, and language of instruction, provided that these meet the minimum standards and outcomes of the National Curriculum Statement. Curricula adopted by independent schools may follow particular philosophies (such as Waldorf or Montessori), while schools may choose to write international examinations such as the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge examinations (international schools) which must be approved by Higher Education South Africa for admission into tertiary education. Most independent schools are not-for-profit, with non-profit schools qualifying for Public Benefit Status for providing “public good”. The largest growth of independent schools has been noted in Gauteng, where enrolments in independent schools have grown faster than those in the state school sector. According to the South African School’s Act 1996, independent schools may be declared as state schools upon mutual agreement from the owner and provincial council.
Low-fee independent schools (which include both for-profit and non-profit establishments) have been growing at a significant rate in the country and becoming a key feature of the independent sector, marketing themselves as an “affordable” alternative for working class and lower-middle class families. It is estimated that low-fee independent schools that charge annual fees below R12,000 (800 USD) educate approximately 250,000 children in South Africa. In low-fee independent schools, almost 80% of students are black, with girls accounting for just over 60% of students in low-fee high schools. There are also mid-fee independent schools that have been established as branded chains. Independent school chains (which often brand themselves as ‘affordable’ and ‘low-fee’) can be categorized into (1) Publicly listed companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (ex. AdTech), (2) for-profit chains (ex. SPARK schools), and (3) not-for-profit chains (ex. Pioneer Academies).
State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools
State-aided schools are non-profit, low-fee independent schools which receive annual per-student subsidies from the state based on a list of conditions and eligibility criteria set out in the National Norms and Standards for School Funding 2006. These include being registered as non-profit institutions, serving lower-income communities, and being managed successfully based on a predetermined checklist. According to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, as state-aided institutions, these schools are more limited in their right to conduct religious observances compared to independent schools, which must be voluntary and subject to rules determined by provincial authorities.
Contracted, non-state schools
Subject to land expropriation regulations in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 and the South African School’s Act 1996, state schools may be operated and managed on private land owned by religious organizations, famers, mines, or forestry companies based on a long-term agreement between the state and the owner. These schools are operated and governed as regular state schools, with the owner prohibited from interfering in the school’s everyday activities. An exception is made in the case of schools owned by religious organizations, in which the owner has the right to require the school to maintain a distinctive religious character.
2.3 Other types of schools
While school attendance is compulsory in South Africa, parents or guardians may apply to the Head of the Provincial Education Department for the registration of a student to receive education at home, which will only be registered if it is determined to be in the best interests of the learner, and the education received meets the minimum curriculum standards at state schools, detailed in the Policy on Home Education 2018.
During the COVID-19 nation-wide school closures in March 2020, home education was pursued for all students in South Africa through different channels and platforms, targeting students of all ages and grades. To ensure learning continuing, the Department of Basic Education, in close collaboration with the Provincial Education Departments, developed a comprehensive Framework for Curriculum Recovery, in which education programs were being delivered through television and radio broadcasts, social media platforms, and government websites.
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
No information was found.
Government databases on the number of independent schools are often unreliable, as there many unregistered schools (many of which are low-fee schools) that are not included in the official databases. Unregistered schools are illegal and their number in South African remains unknown. According to research carried out in 2008/9, about a quarter of low-fee independent schools surveyed in six poor areas were unregistered. There are different reasons why schools may choose to remain unregistered, with many of them never having tried to register and others trying to navigate what are described as complex regulatory requirements with no success. 16 schools were found to be operating without the necessary registration in Cape Town in 2013. In October 2020, 2 illegal schools were closed in Johannesburg which were found to be operating without the required paperwork.
The governance of both state and non-state education in South Africa is shared between the Department of Social Development (supervising all early childhood education programs), the Department of Basic Education (responsible for all pre-primary to secondary education), and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), which supervises all post-school and higher education. Each department supervises both state and non-state provision at the respective education level.
While the DHET remains highly centralized, responsibilities for registration and monitoring of early childhood to secondary education institutions (in the state and non-state sector) have been decentralized to each province through Provincial Education Departments (PEDs), which according to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, are authorized to pass provincial-specific legislature which must enhance (and not contradict) any national law or Act.
Vision: While South Africa does not have a specific department responsible for non-state education provision at either the national or provincial levels, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 gives any person the right to establish and maintain independent educational institutions provided that they are registered with the state, maintain standards not inferior to state institutions, and do not discriminate on the basis of race (Section 29). According to the White Paper on Education and Training of 1995, “the role of non-governmental organizations, including religious and other community-based structures, has been strategically important”, which have a “long history in more affluent communities”. The Education Strategic Plan 2020-25 and Revised Five-Year Strategic Plan 2015/16 - 2019/20 both strongly encourage partnerships with the non-state sector which are viewed as “opportunities”, especially through the establishment of the National Education Collaboration Trust which “affords the Department within an opportunity to join hands with the private sector in delivering education, especially for these partnerships to venture into areas that are not easily penetrated by the education system”.
3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education
The White Paper on Education and Training of 1995 formalized and standardized a reception program (Grade R) for children aged 5 to prepare them for entry into Grade 1, which has been integrated into the primary school system in South Africa and mostly provided by the state (95% of all enrolments). Early childhood care and education (ECCE) services however, which the Children’s Act 2005 (promulgated in 2010) broadly defines as the period between birth to the year a child enters Grade R in formal school, are mostly provided by the non-state sector, including non-governmental organizations and private organizations. During these years, the state may directly deliver ECCE programs or (more commonly) contract a non-governmental or private organization to deliver these services for-profit or not-for-profit on the state’s behalf (while receiving regular subsidies from the state). According to the General Household Survey 2019, children aged 0─4 years were using different child care arrangements, which included Grade R/preschool/nursery schools (37%), day mother (4%), at home with parent or guardian (7.5%), at home with someone younger than 18 years (0.1%), and at someone else’s dwelling (1%). Informal and unregulated services also provide ECCE to many families. In 2013/14, an audit revealed that out of nearly 18,000 ECCE centres, only 45% were fully registered, 11% were conditionally registered, and 44% were unregistered.
Registration and approval: According to the Children’s Act 2005, any individual or organization wishing to establish an ECCE centre in South Africa is required to apply for registration or conditional registration with the provincial head of social development, accompanied by any additional documents or information required by the Member of the Executive Council (Section 96). In the Children’s Amendment Bill 2020, an early childhood development centre is defined as a “facility that provides an early childhood development programme, for children from birth to school going age” and must be program for more than 6 children. The Guidelines for Early Childhood Development Services 2006 provide detailed descriptions of different requirements (including specific health and infrastructure standards), while local municipalities may develop additional standards for ECCE services within their province which the applicant is required to adhere to in order to be considered for registration. Any person can provide ECCE services in South Africa provided the centre is registered, managed and maintained in accordance with prescribed conditions, and complies with the national norms and standards. Moreover, the applicant must be a fit and proper person and have the necessary funds and resources needed to provide ECCE services according to the type of service applied for. In the case of contracted ECCE services, the provincial department of social development is responsible for contracting non-state providers to deliver ECCE services under explicit accountability mechanisms, principles, and performance requirements.
License: If the applicant is deemed fit to deliver these services and the program complies with the minimum standards, the provincial head of social development may issue the applicant a certificate of registration or conditional registration (if the majority, but not all conditions have been met). Conditional registrations include conditions such as the type of program which must be provided and the period within which the registration remains valid. ECCE centres remain registered for a period of 5 years.
Profit-making: According to the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy 2015, ECCE services may be delivered by both for-profit and non-profit organizations. However, for-profit organizations may only qualify for government aid if they have been specifically contracted by the state to provide services to vulnerable groups.
Taxes and subsidies: The state provides per-child subsidies to non-profit organizations that provide ECCE services to cover the cost of staff, infrastructure development, teacher training, and program management. Moreover, state subsidies to cover similar costs in staff and management are provided to private for-profit entities which have been contracted by the state to provide ECCE services in under-served areas and to targeted populations, including children with developmental difficulties and/or disabilities, children under the age of two, or children living in poverty. Conditionally registered services may only qualify for state funding if they meet the national norms and standards.
Quality of teaching and learning
Curriculum and education standards: The Department of Basic Education has developed the South African National Curriculum Framework for children aged 0 – 4 based on the National Integrated Early Learning and Development Standards, which must guide the development of all ECCE programs in South Africa. All ECCE programs (irrespective of ownership) are required to meet the National Norms and Standards for Early Childhood Development and according to the Children’s Act 2005 and all programs must promote children’s right to play and leisure. The curriculum framework ensures the synergy between early learning and Grade R curricula through specific standards and competencies that are expected to be developed. All services must additionally meet the national norms and standards related to safe environment, proper care, hygiene, safe storage of anything that may be harmful to children, and safe separation of children of different age groups (Children’s Amendment Bill 2020).
Teaching profession: All educators or caregivers providing ECCE services in South Africa are required to be registered with the South African Council for Educators (Education White Paper on Early Childhood Education 2001). If an educator does not have the required qualifications, they are required to undergo approved training before the are employed at any ECCE program. The Children’s Amendment Bill 2020 includes the relevant qualifications, skills and training required to ECCE programs.
Fee-setting: ECCE service providers may charge fees to cover any additional costs for services not funded by the state or private donors (without any particular fee-setting regulation found). In the case of services provided for longer periods of time than originally covered by the program, providers may charge parents a service fee.
Admission selection and processes: While ECCE services are free to determine their own admission policies, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 strictly prohibits any type of racial discrimination upon admission.
Policies for vulnerable groups: As part of its subsidy programs, the state contracts certain non-profit or for-profit organizations to provide ECCE services to targeted vulnerable groups in South Africa. Groups that have been targeted through this program are children residing in under-served areas, children living in poverty, children with developmental difficulties and/or disabilities, or children under the age of two. Government funding must be prioritised in communities where families lack the means of providing proper food, shelter, and other basic necessities to their children, in rural areas, and in order to make centres more accessible to children with disabilities (Children’s Amendment Bill 2020). ECCE centres for children with disabilities or chronic illness are required by law to be accessible to those children, provide facilities that meet these children’s needs. Moreover, they must employ persons that are adequately trained on the needs, health and safety of these children, as well as on the appropriate learning activities, therapeutic interventions, and communication strategies.
Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability
Reporting requirements: If a child is seriously injured or abused following an occurrence at the ECCE centre, the person operating the service or person employed at the centre is required to immediately report the injury or abuse to the provincial head of social development, which must act accordingly based on regulations.
Inspection: The provincial departments of social development are responsible for monitoring the compliance of ECCE services within their jurisdiction to the required standards through inspections and audits. The provincial head of social development is required to conduct inspections based on prescribed intervals to enforce the provisions of the Act (Children’s Amendment Bill 2020).
Child assessment: Children in ECCE services are assessed based on the National integrated Early Learning and Development Standards and the South African National Curriculum Framework for Children from Birth to Four which provide developmental goals and desired results as a guidelines for assessing children’s performance. The key developmental learning areas identified are communication, exploration, well-being, identity and belonging, creativity, and knowledge and understanding.
Sanctions: According to the Children’s Act 2005, a registration certificate may be cancelled if any ECCE program is found to not be operating in accordance with the required regulations or standards, or if the registration holder is in breach of any registration condition. Moreover, the provincial department of social development may order a program to stop if it is found to not comply with the national norms and standards.
Registration and approval: According to the South African School’s Act 1996, “any person” that wants to establish an independent school is required to make an application to be registered by the Head of the PED (Section 46). The Rights and Responsibilities of Independent Schools state that independent schools are required to be registered as “legal entities” (such as a company, foundation, or trust which may have a public benefit, non-profit, or for-profit status). All schools must operate in accordance with their legal registration and status. The Member of the Executive Council in each province determines specific criteria which applicants need to adhere to in order to be registered, while each province has its own additional registration requirements under their provincial education acts. Registration requirements include maintaining standards that are not inferior to state schools and having an admissions policy that does not discriminate on the basis of race. While state schools are additionally required to comply with certain infrastructure standards, no such requirement was found for independent schools.
National and Provincial Education Legislature (Primary and Secondary Education Acts)
South African School’s Act 1996
Gauteng School Education Act 1995
Eastern Cape Schools Education Act 1999
Western Cape Provincial School Education Act 1997
Free State School Education Act 2000
KwaZulu-Natal School Education Act 1996
Limpopo School Education Act 1996
Mpumalanga School Education Act 1995
Northern Cape School Education Act 1996
North-West Schools Education Act 1998
License: If the minimum requirements have been met, the PED may issue a registration certificate to the applicant.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): The Department of Basic Education is responsible for ensuring that all schools (whether state or non-state) provide a safe and healthy learning environment, with adequate access to water and sanitation systems which have been adapted to prevent the spread of HIV, STIs and TB.
Profit-making: Independent schools may be registered as for-profit, non-profit, or public benefit legal entities. However, schools operating with a profit motive do not qualify for state funding.
Taxes and subsidies: The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 and the South African School’s Act 1996 both allow the state to grant annual, per-student subsidies to eligible independent schools through budgets determined by PEDs. Eligibility criteria include being registered as a non-profit organization under the Non-Profit Organizations Act 1997, being operational for at least one year, and being managed successfully based on a predetermined checklist. According to the National Norms and Standards for School Funding 2006, subsidy allocations show particular preference to independent schools which serve poor communities, with lower-fee schools receiving the highest level of subsidies. If any subsidy condition is not complied with, the Head of the PED may reduce or terminate the subsidy.
Quality of teaching and learning
Curriculum and education standards: Non-state schools may follow their own curriculum and examination systems, as long as these meet the learning and assessment standards prescribed in both the National Curriculum Statement for the General Education and Training and the Further Education and Training bands. In choosing their curriculum, independent schools may follow a specific philosophy or methodology such as Waldorf or Montessori (Rights and Responsibilities of Independent Schools). Critical to the independence of non-state schools is their “freedom of a school to use its profession judgement to make decisions. These key characteristics ensure that schools have the freedom they require to be able to determine and deliver programmes of academic excellence to learners.”
Textbooks and learning materials: Non-state schools can determine their own textbooks and learning materials.
Teaching profession: According to the South African Council for Educators Act, 2000, all teachers employed in state and non-state schools are required by law to be registered with the South African Council for Educators. However, non-state schools are free to otherwise determine their own promotion and retention policies in line with applicable policies. They can determine how they are staffed within the boundaries of existing law. Teachers in non-state schools are not covered under the Public Service Act or Employment of Educators Act 1998 which only applies to state schools and includes conditions of service (such as salaries, appointments, and transfers).
Corporal punishment: According to the South African School’s Act 1996 and National Education Policy Act of 1996, corporal punishment is strictly prohibited in all independent and state-aided schools in South Africa. If any person contravenes these regulations, they will be guilty of an offense and liable upon conviction to a sentence imposed for assault.
Other safety measures and COVID-19: As non-state schools planned to reopen following the nation-wide COVID-19 school closures in 2020, all independent schools were required to submit a signed declaration to the Department of Basic Education that the school complies with the minimum health, safety, and social distancing measures in order to be approved for reopening. PEDs were additionally required to provide health and hygiene packages to all schools in their province.
Fee-setting: While independent schools are free to levy fees for registration and tuition, schools which charge fees above the threshold set in the National Norms and Standards for School Funding 2006 may not be eligible for state subsidies.
Admission selection and processes: The most significant limitation on an independent school’s admissions policy is that no racial discrimination is allowed. According to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, the South African School’s Act 1996, and the Rights and Responsibilities of Independent Schools, non-state schools are strictly prohibited from directly or indirectly discriminating on the grounds of race in their admission policies. The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 2000 additionally states that unfair discrimination is prohibited on the basis of gender, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, or disability. Besides being regulated in terms of discrimination, independent schools are free to “determine their own learner admission policies in line with the law”.
Policies for vulnerable groups: The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 2000 prohibits all schools from withholding any financial assistance, scholarships, or bursaries from particular groups based on the factors listed above.
Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability
School board: Similar to state schools, all independent schools must be managed by a governing body. However, independent schools “need not follow the governance regulations designed for public schools”. Independent schools are not required to have student representatives or a majority of current parents in their management structure, and additionally not required to have Learner Representative Councils. State-aided schools must be managed based on a predetermined management checklist provided by each PED (which include managerial capacities and not membership).
Reporting requirements: All state-aided schools in South Africa are required to submit annual reports to the PED on their use of school allocation, explaining how the allocation was spent and how the grants support the school’s development plan, student performance, and quality education.
School inspection: All non-state schools in South Africa are required to be accredited by the Council of General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance (or Umalusi), a process which includes periodic reporting and site inspections which evaluate the quality provided by each institution. State-aided institutions have greater accountability to the PED, which is authorized to make unannounced visits and inspect school records and management based on the prescribed conditions for receiving subsidies.
Student assessment: Independent schools are free to choose their own exit examinations, provided that they meet the learning outcomes and assessment standards in the National Curriculum Statements for the General Education and Training and the Further Education and Training bands (Rights and Responsibilities of Independent Schools). Independent schools may also choose to write international examinations (such as the Cambridge examinations, O and A-levels from the United Kingdom, or International Baccalaureate) which are not under the Umalusi’s control but are approved by the Higher Education South Africa (HESA) for admission into higher education institutions in the country. While independent schools are free to determine their own assessments, the majority of schools write public examinations, with a few choosing to follow the Independent Examinations Board examinations.
Diplomas and degrees: All non-state schools offering education at primary and secondary level must be accredited by Umalusi in order to offer qualifications in the General and Further Education and Training Qualification Framework, which includes the National Senior Certificate.
Sanctions: If any non-state institution is found to not be in compliance with the minimum criteria for registration and accreditation, Umalusi may withdraw the institution’s accreditation once notifying the relevant PED or even reported for subsequent closure to the Head of the Department. Any owner of a school which is not registered under Section 46 of the South African School’s Act 1996 is considered guilty of an offense and will be liable upon conviction to a fine or imprisonment for 3 months.
Tertiary education in South Africa can mainly be categorized into state or non-state higher education institutions (HEIs) and colleges. According to the Statistics on Post-School Education and Training in South Africa 2016, while most institutions (94%) are non-state owned and operated, state HEIs have the highest level of enrolments (74%), with private HEIs and private colleges covering approximately 13% of enrolments each.
Registration and approval: According to the Higher Education Act of 1997 (as amended in 2012) and Further Education and Training Colleges Act 2006, any individual wishing to establish and operate a private HEI or college is required to be registered as a foreign or local juristic person in terms of the Companies Act 2008, after which an application must be made to the Director-General of the DHET (registrar of higher education). All applications must be accompanied by a registration fee, in addition to any other required documents and information. To be considered for registration, applicants must prove that they are financially capable to maintain the institution proposed and that education standards will not be inferior to state HEIs or colleges. In the case of private HEIs, applicants must additionally comply to the requirements of the Higher Education Quality Committee.
License: If the registrar is satisfied that the applicant fulfils all the minimum requirements, they will be issued a certificate of registration stating the terms and conditions of registration. Local juristic individuals may be registered provisionally if the registrar has reason to believe the requirements will be met within a reasonable period. The Higher Education Act of 1997 states that no institution may be operating under the name “university” if it is not registered as a private HEIs under the Act.
Profit-making: As private HEIs or colleges are required to be registered as legal entities under the the Companies Act 2008, institutions may choose to be registered as for-profit or non-profit entities.
Taxes and subsidies: Private colleges may receive funding and equipment from donors, but no information was found on aid to private HEIs.
Quality of teaching and learning
Curriculum and education standards: According to the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (which all private institutions are required to adhere to), institutions are enabled to pursue their own curriculum objectives. The Regulations for the Registration of Private Higher Education Institutions 2016 additionally state that private HEIs may only offer programs that lead to the registered qualifications of the National Qualifications Framework, and that program standards must not be inferior to comparable state institutions.
Teaching profession: All lecturers employed in private colleges are subject to a code of conduct determined by the governing council, in addition to continuous internal evaluation. In the case of private HEIs, all academic staff are required to be adequately experienced and qualified to achieve the program’s objectives (which is monitored upon registration).
Fee-setting: The governing council of each private college is responsible for determining any tuition fees, accommodation fees, and any other fees payable by students, without any particular restriction on fee-setting found. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, accommodation fees were waived for students staying in university-owned, leased, or managed accommodation.
Admission selection and processes: While the Higher Education Act of 1997 gives private institutions the right and responsibility to determine their own admission policies (determined by the governing council), the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 strictly prohibits any form of indirect or direct discrimination on the basis of race in the admissions process. According to the Regulations for the Registration of Private Higher Education Institutions 2016, all individual operators are required to include a signed declaration that no discrimination will be made on the basis of race upon registration.
Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability
Board: According to the Further Education and Training Colleges Act 2006, private colleges are required to be governed by a council, academic board, management staff, and student representative council, while the management of the college must consist of a Principle and Vice Principal (with the compositions and functions of each listed in the Act).
Reporting requirements: All private HEIs and colleges are required to keep records of their income and expenditure, in addition to annual financial statements and balance sheets, which may be inspected or submitted to the registrar at any time.
Inspection: Private HEIs are required to be accredited by the Higher Education Quality Committee, while private colleges must be accredited by Umalusi, both of which are responsible for monitoring the institutions’ compliance with regulations and policies (which includes inspections and audits).
Assessment: Private HEIs and colleges are responsible for determining the assessment of their students in accordance with the program followed.
Diplomas and degrees : The minimum requirements for admission to a private HEI or college are the National Senior Certificate as determined by the DHET in the National Qualifications Act 2008. According to the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework and Higher Education Act of 1997, no institution may offer a degree, diploma or certificate in South Africa unless that degree, certificate or diploma has been registered on the sub-framework for higher education in the National Qualifications Framework (submitted for proof to the South African Qualifications Authority). The language of each award issued is required to be in English, in addition to any other official language determined by the institution’s language policy in accordance with the Language Policy for Higher Education, which supports the promotion of multilingualism.
Sanctions: If any institution is found to not be in compliance with the required standards, the registrar may upon reasonable grounds cancel the institution’s registration or provisional registration, while the Higher Education Quality Committee or Umalusi may withdraw the institution’s accreditation. Moreover, if any institution is found to be operating without being registered, the owner will be liable upon conviction to an offence for fraud. While provisions are made for the closure of state institutions, no regulation provides for the closure of private HEIs or colleges.
3.2 Supplementary private tutoring
The private supplementary tuition industry has been increasingly prevalent in South Africa driven by the perceived low quality of state education, with multiple (primarily commercial) tutoring models ranging from small companies serving local neighborhoods to large franchises with branch operations. Private tutoring enterprises have also been recorded to be partnering with PEDs in supporting senior secondary students with their matriculation examinations. According to SACMEQ data, private tutoring enrolments for Grade 6 students witnessed a sharp increase from 4% enrolments in 2007 to 29% in 2013, with significant variances across different provinces.
Private tutoring centers are registered as commercial businesses in South Africa under the Companies Act 2008.
Financial operation and quality
According to the Regulations for the Registration of Private Higher Education Institutions 2016, private HEIs are prohibited from outsourcing or franchising the delivery of their programs in respect to private tuition or any teaching and learning support. If any private institution is found to not comply with this regulation, the operator will be guilty upon conviction to a sentence imposed for fraud.
The Employment of Educators Act 1998 states that state schoolteachers are prohibited from undertaking any private work that is related to their professional duties. If a teacher is found to not comply with these regulations, they will be considered guilty of misconduct and liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding R6,000, a reduced salary, or discharge from their official duties.