South African Higher Education Institutions

South Africa possesses world class higher education institutions. The country has 24 public higher education institutions providing a range of courses and research options for both local as well as international students. In 2003, the higher education sector of South Africa was restructured in order to expand the access to higher education. As a result, presently there are three types of public higher education institutions in South Africa: traditional universities, universities of technology and comprehensive universities.

South Africa possesses 6 comprehensive Universities that provide a combination of academic and vocational degrees and diplomas, 6 Universities of Technology that emphasize on vocationally oriented education, and 11 traditional universities that provide theoretically oriented degrees.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Training is in charge of higher education, technical and vocational education and training, and adult basic education and training (ABET).  

Following are the Higher Education Institutions in South Africa-

Technikons/Universities of Technology

The University of Technology offers programmes leading to degrees, diplomas and certificates. The Universities of technology aims to prepare pupils for a particular occupation. Technikons and Universities of Technology provide courses in applied fields, such as engineering, business, technology, design, health sciences, performing arts, and so on.

The admission requirement for a technikon/university of technology programme is a National Senior Certificate that is awarded upon completion of 12 years of primary and secondary education or equivalent, but certain programmes have additional requirements as well.

Technikon/University of Technology Qualifications-

  • National Certificate (NC): This certificate is awarded after one year of study.
  • National Higher Certificate (NHC): Requires two years of study.
  • National Diploma (NDip): Requires three years of study.
  • Bachelor of Technology Degree (B Tech): Requires four years of study.
  • Master of Technology Degree (M Tech): Requires five years of study.
  • Doctor of Technology Degree (D Tech): Requires seven years of study.

List of Technikons/Universities of Technology-

  1. Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  2. Central University of Technology
  3. Durban University of Technology
  4. Mangosuthu University of Technology
  5. Tshwane University of Technology
  6. Vaal University of Technology

Comprehensive Universities

Comprehensive universities are the result of the amalgamation of technikons with traditional universities. These institutions provide programmes and degrees in the fields of traditional arts and science along with the programmes and degrees offered by the technikons/universities of technology. The Comprehensive Universities focus on building up research in vocational, University of Technology type programmes/courses.

List of Comprehensive Universities in South Africa-

  1. University of Johannesburg
  2. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  3. University of South Africa
  4. University of Venda
  5. University of Zululand
  6. Walter Sisulu University

Traditional Universities

Since 1829 there were traditional Universities in South Africa. The first University was University Cape Town that was established in 1829 to prepare pupils for matriculation exams. Later in the year 1873, the University of the Cape of Good Hope was founded as the country’s first chartered university and in 1918 the University of South Africa was established.  The traditional Universities provide several degree programmes at undergraduate as well as postgraduate level. There is a vast variety of degree programmes, particularly at the bachelor’s level.

The minimum admittance requirement to a traditional university programme is the National Senior Certificate that is given after the completion of the secondary school education.  

List of Traditional Universities in South Africa-

  1. Rhodes University
  2. North-West University  
  3. University of Cape Town
  4. University of Fort Hare
  5. University of the Free State
  6. University of KwaZulu-Natal
  7. University of Limpopo
  8. University of Pretoria
  9. University of Stellenbosch
  10. University of the Western Cape
  11. University of the Witwatersrand
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