The South African Tertiary Education Sector
Statistics show that the South African government spends 4.7% of revenue, equivalent to 0.75% of GDP, on Tertiary Education and Training. The country’s 26 public universities, which can comfortably accommodate 500,000 students, are under-funded and overcrowded with a total enrolment of 985,212 students. They are trying to recover from the effects of last year's violent protests against fee increases that caused many Higher Education institutions to temporarily close their doors. There is also overcrowding at the 50 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges where there are problems with the curricula offered, the lack of suitably qualified lecturers with the appropriate technical skills and industry experience, and a low graduation rate of approximately 33%.
The Growing Private Sector
The Register of Private Higher Education Institutions shows that there were 96 registered and 31 provisionally registered private Higher Education Institutions in July 2017. According to the Project Manager of Milpark College, “Statistics clearly show that the public post-school education system is not able to provide enough opportunities for school leavers and this is where the private providers are able to step in and fill the skills training gap.” There have been a number of acquisitions and developments in the private arena, with market leader AdVTech acquiring distance education institutions, Oxbridge Academy and the University of Africa in Zambia, as well as Capsicum Culinary Studio.
The report on South Africa’s troubled Tertiary Education sector describes current conditions, the problems facing universities and TVETs and factors influencing the success of the sector. The report profiles 29 public and private universities as well as 16 correspondence and private colleges. Included is ADvTECH’s closest competitor, Curro, which acquired AFDA in August 2017 and expressed its intention of listing its Tertiary unit Stadio on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in September 2017.