The South African Tertiary Education Sector
South Africa’s Tertiary Education sector consists of 26 public universities, 50 public technical and vocational education and training colleges (TVET) and 96 registered and 29 provisionally registered private Higher Education institutions. In his 2016 Budget Speech, Minister Nzimande reported that the Department’s budget for public Higher Education institutions would increase at an annual average 9.8%, from R42bn in 2015/16 to R55.3bn in 2018/19 in an effort to produce graduates with the skills that are urgently required to grow South Africa’s economy.
Despite South Africa's investment in education being one of the highest in the world, the country’s education sector is beset by problems. These include a shortage of academic staff, the gap in standards between Secondary and Higher Education, the poor quality of Maths and Science education at Higher Education and Training level and high drop-out rates. Added to these is the current wave of unrest and protest which began in October 2015 with the #FeesMustFall-campaign and resulted in an agreement that tuition fees at the 26 public universities would not increase in 2016. Also of concern is that on average only 13,000 artisans qualify every year, when by 2030 the country needs at least 30,000 newly qualified artisans annually if the aims of the National Development Plan are to be achieved.
The Tertiary Education report describes current conditions, attempts by government to improve the quality and accessibility of public Higher Education and factors that influence the success of the sector. The report profiles 44 role players in the sector including the University of Cape Town, rated Africa’s top university. Also profiled is the country’s largest private tertiary provider, ADvTECH Ltd, which reports that enrolments for B.Com and other business-related degrees at its Varsity College campuses are increasing year-on-year, and new entrant SANTS Private Higher Education Institution (Pty) Ltd, which focuses on teacher education.