Despite substantial government spending in the education sector, providing access to “quality education for all” is one of the most pressing development challenges faced by South Africa.
The Education sector in South Africa
Despite substantial government spending in the education sector, providing access to “quality
education for all” is one of the most pressing development challenges faced by South Africa.
The UK and South Africa have similar approaches in teaching and tradition in education. English
is also used as a teaching medium positioning the UK a natural partner for South Africa.
South Africa underwent a major transformation in education following the end of apartheid in
1994 however a lack of quality teachers, poor functioning of schools, a backlog in infrastructure,
absenteeism from both students and teachers and poor delivery of the curriculum mean that the
state education system is still struggling to meet the needs of large parts of the population.
Conversely South Africa also boasts some independent schools that compete on a global scale.
The South African Government’s contribution to public education remains their single largest
investment. The budget for 2012/13 allocated £15.9 billion to the sector or 6% of GDP. South
Africa has 12 million pupils in over 25,000 schools as well as 23 universities and 50 public
Further Education Colleges. There are two main government ministries: Department of Basic
Education (DBE) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
In January 2012 the South African Government launched its green paper on post-school
education and training. This outlined a broad policy for expanding and improving access to post-
school education and training opportunities as follows:
ξ Institutions will be strengthened to improve education quality.
ξ Better assistance provided to improve the infrastructure and quality of teaching.
ξ Building coherence between basic education and the post-school system.
ξ Building coherence between the post-school system and labour market.
South Africa has an education and training system very similar to the UK’s and there are
opportunities across the board for UK companies and institutes to supply to or work with South
African education organisations
ξ Pre-school and Early Learning
ξ Vocational and Further Education
ξ ICT and innovative products
ξ Independent (private) schools
ξ University and schools infrastructure
Latest export opportunities in the Education and Training in South Africa
Latest export opportunities in South Africa
Getting into the market
Much of South Africa’s legal, economic and business practices and legislation is based on the
UK equivalents. This makes operating in South Africa less problematic and alien than in other
international markets. Regulatory standards also tend to mirror EU equivalents and the cultural
and historical links are broadly positive in the UK’s favour. South Africa does operate a policy
of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment to redress the imbalances to black employment
under the apartheid regime. This legislation particularly influences government procurement.
More about doing business in South Africa
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
Trade & Investment Advisor
+27 (0)11 537 72205
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events in the Education and Training sector
Date: 4 - 6 July 2013
Website address: http://www.educationweek.co.za/
Website address: http://www.future-ed.co.za/
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters