South Africa Higher Education

South Africa Higher Education


South Africa is Africa’s financial, trade and production center and has experienced strong economic growth over the past decade. A stay in South Africa can offer completely unique insights into one of the world’s emerging countries. With 23 public universities and over 80 private ones, there are good opportunities for study stays.

South Africa is Africa’s largest economy and political heavyweight, and has undergone major developments since the abolition of apartheid in 1991 and the introduction of democracy in 1994.

Education has become an increasingly important political priority, and the South African government spends just over 20% of total public spending on the education system.

The South African education system is divided into three levels; “Basic education”, “further education” and “higher education and training”. However, the quality of education in South Africa has for many years been the subject of considerable criticism, and it is important that you yourself investigate and consider how a study stay in South Africa can make sense to you.

As one of countries starting with letter S listed on countryaah, South Africa accounts for about 40 percent of total GDP in Africa and is Africa’s financial, trade and production center. The country is also Denmark and the EU’s largest trading partner on the African continent and is also an important entry country to other African markets.

In addition, South Africa is a diverse and multicultural country, with over 50 million inhabitants of African, Indian / Asian and European origin.

The country has 11 official languages ​​from the native Afrikaans to the various tribal languages ​​to the second language English. Most South Africans are Christians, and in addition, the largest religious groups are Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists.

Worth knowing

Vocational training in South Africa

Vocational training in South Africa takes place at the second level of the three-tier education structure, and is managed by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Most vocational education in South Africa takes place at the so-called “FET (Further Education and Training) colleges” and is offered both publicly and privately, at public and private FET Colleges, respectively.

At the public FET Colleges, the duration of a vocational education is typically three years, and passing the exam qualifies to work in a particular industry.

The FET includes courses for National Qualifications Framework (NQF) levels 2 to 4. These levels correspond to 10-12. class in the school system. The entry requirement for FET is 9th grade or Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET). FET Colleges also offers programs at higher NQF levels, usually level 5-6 (Higher Certificate and Advanced Certificate). These qualifications are part of the higher education system in South Africa.

There are 50 registered public FET Colleges in South Africa and some FET Colleges have international partnership agreements.


If you are thinking of taking all or part of your own internship abroad, read the section on internships abroad for vocational education under the section Primary school and upper secondary education

Higher education in South Africa

Higher education has a high political priority in South Africa, and after the abolition of apartheid, there has been considerable political focus on adapting higher education to the new political and democratic landscape.

The South African system of higher education includes 41 public institutions of higher education, including

  • 11traditional universities”, which have a strong theoretical-academic focus and i.a. includes Rhodes University, University of Cape Town, North-West University, University of Fort Hare, University of the Free State, University of Pretoria, University of the Western Cape and Stellenbosh University.
  • 6 “comprehensive universities” that combine a theoretical academic focus with an understanding of business practice. These include i.a. University of Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of South Africa and Walter Sisulu University.
  • 6 “universities of technology ” that focus on technical proficiency with a professional focus include Central University of Technology, Durban University of Technology and Vaal University of Technology.

Here you can find information about studying in South Africa on topschoolsintheusa.

In addition, there are approx. 88 registered private institutions of higher education.

University degrees in South Africa are divided into undergraduate and graduate / postgraduate levels.

Admission and application

Depending on whether you are applying for admission to a South African university as an exchange student through an agreement with your Danish university, as a free-mover or to take your entire education in South Africa, the application process and admission requirements may vary.

The same may be the case between the various educational institutions in South Africa, so it is best to stay informed about the admission requirements and application process for the university or universities (ies) you may be interested in.

See the list of the 26 public institutions of higher education in South Africa. Here you will find links to the individual university, where you can find specific information about admission requirements and application processes.

The same applies to specific requirements for documented English skills, which in some cases may be required to enter a South African university.

Recognition of foreign educations

If you have completed a publicly recognized education abroad, you can have it assessed by the Danish Agency for Research and Education

South Africa Higher Education