Education system in South Africa – facts you must check

The importance of education in South Africa is beyond description. It’s a vast country with a huge population.

The characteristics of this continent are ruled by breathtaking natural beauties, forests, deserts, and diversified population. Despite all the features, the best education system in Africa tries to make the populations educated.

In this post, we shall discuss the Education in South Africa. This time, we will focus on the basic and higher education system of the country.


The education system

In general, the education system in South Africa is under two departments of the country. One is the basic education system while the other one is higher education and training.

The department of basic education is liable for basic education in the country. And the department of higher education provides the necessary support for higher education. But earlier, both the departments were a single department to run the education system.


Role of the basic education department

In South Africa, the basic education department is responsible to impart basic education among the children. It deals with the public and private schools. Some of the schools are independent. There are some childhood development centers associated with the as well.

Also, they have a role to play for the schools for special children. In South Africa, over 90 percent of schools are ordinary schools.


Role of the higher education department

The higher education department imparts schooling and training to the adults. It also provides them with basic education and vocational training. The training helps them to join the workforce for their livelihood.


Basic education structure

The basic education structure in South Africa is in two grades. The first grade is GET [or General Education Training], and the second one is FET [or Further Education Training].

Under the GET, there are up to nine grades. And it begins in grade 0. The FET has two grades – tenth and eleventh.


GET in South Africa

The general education training in South Africa has several phases. Because this is not possible to impart education to everyone in every stage. Thereby, the government has divided the entire system into phases.

The phases include

  • Foundation phase
  • Intermediate phase
  • Senior phase

The foundation phase has four grades – 0, 1, 2, and 3.

The intermediate phase has three grades – 4, 5, and 6.

The senior phase has also three phases – 7, 8, and 9.

The schools in South Africa are thus available in two categories – primary schools and secondary schools. At the primary schools, they reach up to grade 7 and the high schools teach up to grade 12.

However, there are options for home-schooling as well in South Africa.


Costs of education in South Africa

In South Africa, the cost of education is moderate. The schools operate themselves through the grants of the government. But they also receive fees and donations from the parents.

Despite the sources of income of the schools, it is tough for the poorer students to maintain the costs.

Luckily, the parents may ask the school to set a partial tuition fee. Such provision allows some of the students to continue the education.

At the same time, the school is bound to publish the result of the students. At times, the parents may not pay the school fees. Or they may ignore the payment. But the schools will publish the results. And for the non-payment of the fees, the school authorities may move for legal actions against the parents.

But parents with extreme poverty may get some flexibility.


School norms

In South Africa, the schools follow some strict rules and principles. The students are to follow the school schedule strictly. Besides, they need to wear school uniforms.

Besides, the schools also undergo some extracurricular activities. And the students are to participate in those. The activities include – cultural activities, sports events, among others. And the sports events are on school grounds.


Overall performance of students

South Africa is a country with a number of possibilities. But at times, the possibilities submerge under frustration.

There are a wide number of reasons behind the frustration. Though there is a solid education system, most of the time the students are unable to derive the benefits. They intentionally or unintentionally do not have the scope to reach the ladder of higher education.

The rate of school dropout is higher in South Africa. Some other surrounding aspects fuel the dropout of the students.

Sometimes, the students do not find an interest in education. It happens as the teachers are unskilled and less uneducated. So, they are unable to impart the proper teaching to the students.

Crime is another factor for dropout. Besides, teen pregnancy in the country is another critical issue.

Students are reluctant to attend school as they witness violence there. Even some of them are victims of sexual assault. Gang fighting, use of firearms are too common as well in the country.



There are some shortcomings available as well. The shortage of qualified teachers is a big challenge in South Africa. Besides, many of the schools do not have basic amenities.

The school children are to undergo all such unfavorable situations.

Sometimes, the class size is larger than its capacity. The textbooks are also not available always. All the things hamper academic activities.

Besides, there is a disparity between girls and boys. The girls in the country are not that much educated. They do not have the opportunity to attend academic activities than that of the boys. Even, many of them are unable to cross the boundary of their primary education.

However, developed countries and international agencies are addressing such issues. In fact, UNESCO has prioritized the education of South Africa. It has been finding the challenges and accordingly planning preventive measures.




So, that was all for today. I have collected all the information from different sources including Wikipedia.

If you want to know more about other countries like Germany, the UK, the USA, Australia, Sweden, or others, keep visiting the site.

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