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Education in South Africa

All South Africans have the right to a basic education, including adult basic education and further education. According to the Bill of Rights of the country's Constitution, the state has an obligation, through reasonable measures, to progressively make this education available and accessible.
At about 5.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 20% of total state expenditure, South Africa has one of the highest rates of public investment in education in the world. 
South Africa's National Qualifications Framework (NQF) recognises three broad bands of education: General Education and Training, Further Education and Training, and Higher Education and Training.
School life spans 13 years or grades, from grade 0, otherwise known as grade R or "reception year", through to grade 12 or "matric" – the year of matriculation. General Education and Training runs from grade 0 to grade 9.
Under the South African Schools Act of 1996, education is compulsory for all South Africans from the age of seven (grade 1) to age 15, or the completion of grade 9. General Education and Training also includes Adult Basic Education and Training. 

8 Doctors Degree
7 Masters Degree
Honours Degree
Postgraduate Diploma
6 General first degree
Professional first degree postgraduate
Bachelor's degree
5 First diploma
Higher certificate
FURTHER 12 4 Diploma
11 3 Certificate
10 2 Certificate
GENERAL 9 1 Grade 9
Adult Basic Education and Training level 4

Source: Department of Education
Further Education and Training takes place from grades 10 to 12, and also includes career-oriented education and training offered in other Further Education and Training institutions – technical colleges, community colleges and private colleges. Diplomas and certificates are qualifications recognised at this level.
The matric pass rate, which was as low as 40% in the late 1990s, has improved considerably. A total of 581 573 full-time students and 38 595 repeat students sat the matriculation exams in 2009, 60.6% of whom passed.

General and Further Education and Training

President Jacob Zuma announced in May 2009 that the national Department of Education would be split into two ministries – Basic Education, and Higher Education and Training.
South African Communist Party secretary-general Blade Nzimande is the new minister of Higher Education and Training, while former Gauteng Education MEC Angie Motshekga now oversees the Ministry of Basic Education.
Each ministry is responsible for its level of education across the country as a whole, while each of the nine provinces has its own education department.
The Ministry of Basic Education focuses on adult basic education and training in addition to primary and secondary education. The Ministry of Higher Education and Training is responsible for tertiary education up to doctorate level, and technical and vocational training. It also oversees the numerous sector education and training authorities.
The central government provides a national framework for school policy, but administrative responsibility lies with the provinces. Power is further devolved to grassroots level via elected school governing bodies, which have a significant say in the running of their schools.
Private schools and higher education institutions have a fair amount of autonomy, but are expected to fall in line with certain government non-negotiables – no child may be excluded from a school on grounds of his or her race or religion, for example.
The Further Education and Training (FET) branch is responsible for the development of policy for grades 10 to 12 in public and independent schools, as well as in public and private FET colleges.
It monitors the integrity of assessment in schools and colleges, and offers an academic curriculum as well as a range of vocational subjects. FET colleges cater for out-of-school youth and adults.
The branch oversees, coordinates and monitors the system’s response to improved learner participation and performance in maths, science and technology. It also devises strategies aimed at the use of information and communication technology (ICT), and supports curriculum implementation through the national educational portal, Thutong (Setswana, meaning "place of learning").
The latest available statistics show that in 2007 South Africa had 14 167 086 pupils enrolled in all sectors of the education system, attending 35 231 educational institutions and served by 452 971 teachers and lecturers.
The breakdown of schools includes 26 065 ordinary schools and 9 166 other education institutions – namely, special schools, early childhood development (ECD) sites, public adult basic education and training (ABET) centres, public further education and training (FET) institutions and public higher education (HE) institutions.
Of the total enrolled pupils, 12 048 821 (85.0%) were in public schools and 352 396 (2.5%) were in independent schools. Of the pupils in other institutions, 761 087 (5.4%) were in public HE institutions, 320 679 (2.3%) were in public FET institutions, 292 734 (2.1%) were in public ABET centres, 289 312 (2.0%) were in ECD centres, and 102 057 (0.7%) were in special schools.
The total of 26 065 ordinary schools comprised 15 358 primary schools, with 6 316 064 pupils and 191 199 teachers; 5 670 secondary schools, with 3 831 937 pupils and 128 183 teachers; and 5 037 combined and intermediate schools, with 2 253 216 pupils and 74 843 teachers.
Other educational facilities included 2 278 ABET centres, 50 public FET institutions, 4 800 ECD centres and 23 HE institutions.
In state-funded public schools, the average ratio of pupils (also known as "learners") to teachers ("educators") is 31.5 to one, while private schools generally have one teacher for every 17.5 scholars.