Study and find schools in South Africa
South Africa, officially known as the Republic of South Africa, is a large country situated at the southernmost tip of the African continent, with a total geographic area of nearly 472,000 square miles. Divided into nine provinces and with over 1,700 miles of coast line along the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South Africa lies to the south of a number of neighboring countries, including Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South African territory. South Africa is a parliamentary republic with a president as head of state, and has three capitals for each of its branches of government: Pretoria (executive branch), Bloemfontein (judicial) and Cape Town (legislative). The largest city in the country is Johannesburg.
As of the last available census data (2011), South Africa had an estimated population of 48.8 million—a diverse population with numerous origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. South African statistics show five racial categories: Black African (79%), White (9%), Coloured (9%) and Asian and Indian at 2.5%. While Black Africans account for the lion share of the population, they are not an ethnically or linguistically homogenous group. Among the major ethnicities within this racial group are Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Bapedi, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi and Ndbele, all of whom speak Bantu languages. The White South Africans are primarily descendants of Dutch, German, French Huegenots, English and other European and Jewish setllers. In terms of their percentage in relation to the total population, they’re numbers have been gradually diminishing since the 1970s.
South African is one of the most linguistically diverse nations in the world, second only to India and Bolivia with a total of 11 official languages. They are: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu. They are all given equal status under the constitution, but some are spoken more than others. The three most commonly spoken languages among the South African people are Zulu (24%), Xhosa (18%) and Afrikaans (13%). Christianity is the predominant religious faith, but there is no single denomination that holds a wide majority over the others. Some of the Christian faiths include Zion Christian (11%), Pentecostal (8.3%), Roman Catholicism (7%), Methodist (6.8%), Dutch Reformed (6.5%), Anglican (3.6%) and other Christian denominations (36%). Muslims and Hindus, each accounting for roughly 1.5% of the population, are the two largest religious minority groups.
Education in South Africa
South Africa spends between 5-6 percent of its annual GDP on education, a system that is overseen by the national government and implemented at the provincial level. Education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 16, and the education system is divided between three main stages: primary education, secondary education and tertiary or higher education.
Primary education in South Africa follows a non-compulsory year of pre-primary or kindergarten education called Grade R. The primary level spans seven years (Grades 1-7), beginning at age 6 and culminating at age 13. Initially, students will receive instruction in reading, writing and other basic skills, with subjects such as mathematics, science, history, geography, social studies, foreign language (usually English), physical education and the arts gradually added at each new grade level.
Secondary education in South Africa is provided by high schools, which offer a five-year program of study (grades 8-12). This level is well-attended in some regions and sparsely attended in others, depending on the socio-economic status of the families residing there, but cumulatively the country has a much higher secondary attendance rate than its neighboring countries. Following the 12th grade students must sit for the Senior Certificate Examination, which is required for entrance into South African universities.
Higher education is provided by three types of institutions: traditional universities, with degrees available in theoretical fields; technological universities (Technikons), offering degrees that are much more vocationally oriented and specialized; and comprehensive universities, which generally offer a combination of what the two previous types offer. Currently there are 23 public universities in South Africa: 11 traditional universities, 6 Technikons and 6 comprehensive universities.
International Study Abroad Programs in South Africa
Great Lifestyle That Doesn’t Cost a Fortune
If you like trekking on weekends, this is the best place in the world to be in with its large number of adventure choices, including wildlife parks and natural beauty. The cost of living is extremely affordable especially compared to Europe and the USA, with tuition fee is also quite reasonable for the international standard of education that is imparted here. Study abroad programs in South Africa will enable you to find jobs around the world. The fee structure is approximately $1,600 for undergraduate studies, while postgraduate studies would cost about $2,900. Monthly living expenses would be under $1,000, including expenditure on rent, food and travel.
And if you have an outstanding academic or sports record, you can aspire for a university grant, offered by the top universities here, in the form of financial aid. Major banks in South Africa also offer education loans to students.
Many Choices of Study Abroad Programs in South Africa
Whether it is infrastructure, or technology or culture, you will not find anything wanting in South Africa. With a large number of colleges and universities, students have plenty to choose from. Your comfort is only likely to increase when you consider the fact that English is the principal medium of instruction in the best institutions. You can choose from a variety of courses such as environment science, political science, pharmaceuticals, education, languages, arts, communication and media, business management, engineering, medicine, arts and humanities.
There are several renowned universities in the country, such as University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), Walter Sisulu University for Technology and Science, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Stellenbosch University, Durban University of Technology, Central University of Technology, and University of Cape Town, among others that offer study abroad programs in various disciplines.
Precautions to Take Before Entering a Study Abroad Program in South Africa
A word of caution: do not go by the claims made by institutions but do sufficient research before you decide on which university you want to join and what their admission requirements are. Find out as much as you can about the reputation of the institution, by interacting with other students including those who have already studied in South Africa, on online forums. You will enjoy the experience a lot more if you are prepared to take in new cultures and learn new languages during your stay.
Language Courses in South Africa
Language acquisition is one of the more popular areas of study for international students studying abroad in South Africa. Language, for lack of a better word, is power, and as the world moves ever closer to a global society and economy, many young people are beginning to realize the social and professional benefits of being able to speak and understand at least one alternate language. To accomplish this goal, some are turning to language immersion courses in places such as South Africa—a literal haven for new language learning.
South Africa is home to two official languages: English, and the Dutch-related language known as Afrikaans. There are also over 10 other languages that are considered co-official in many parts of the country—native languages like Zulu, which have been spoken in the region for hundreds of years. As a result of this incredible language diversity, most individuals in South Africa are bilingual, and many more speak three or more languages.
About Language Immersion Courses
Studying a foreign language can be a wonderful experience, especially when doing so in a country where that language is regularly spoken among the people. Studies show that this type of learning, known as “language immersion learning,” is much more effective than the traditional study of language, because students are constantly being exposed to the target language and thus receive consistent feedback from speakers and listeners. Language immersion courses basically have two components: the classroom component, in which students learn the vocabulary, grammar, tense, and phonetics of the new language; and a cultural component, in which students go out into the community and practice what they have learned in the classroom through field trips and everyday experiences. Instead of learning via textbooks and audio tapes, students learn through interactive lectures (in the target language) group-based discussions, one-on-one conversation sessions, and student projects.
Language immersion courses in South Africa are available for learners at all stages of proficiency. From the very basic phonetic courses, designed for individuals with no previous language exposure; to advanced conversational courses for those looking to polish their skills en-route to total mastery; you can be sure that South Africa has a language immersion course that is just right for you.
Languages Taught in South Africa
English is considered the lingua franca of South Africa, which means it is the language used when conducting the primary business of the country, such as government, international communications, education and more. Because of this, many outsiders mistakenly believe it is the most commonly spoken language in the country. While it’s true that most South Africans can speak and understand English as a result of their schooling, most people speak one of the country’s other languages in informal situations, with the two most popular being Afrikaans and Zulu.
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa, Namibia and, to a lesser extent, in Botswana and Zimbabwe. The language is an offshoot of several Dutch dialects spoken by the mainly Dutch settlers of what is now South Africa, where it gradually began to develop independently in the course of the 18th century. Hence, historically, it is a daughter language of Dutch, and was previously referred to as "Cape Dutch" (a term also used to refer collectively to the early Cape settlers) or "kitchen Dutch" (a derogatory term used to refer to Afrikaans in its earlier days). Like English, Afrikaans is spoken by most of the South African people, and it, too, is used to some extent in business and education. English speakers, who come to live and study in South Africa, are some of the most frequent participants at language schools that feature the Afrikaans language
Zulu is an African language that is spoken as a first language by nearly 11 million people in South Africa. Because of its widespread usage, there are many language schools in South Africa in which students can learn to speak and comprehend Zulu—schools that are very popular, especially among foreign settlers who have come to South Africa to live, work, and/or study.
Learning to speak and understand English, Afrikaans, Zulu and/or other South African languages not only gives students a definite professional edge as they venture out into the world economy; it also enables them to learn more about the cultures behind these languages and the people who speak them.
Schools that offer language courses in South Africa
Masters Degrees, Graduate Studies and Professional Programs in South Africa
The distance one must travel to arrive in South Africa is well worth it, as the country is a literal treasure trove of culture and natural beauty. Despite a somewhat tumultuous history and the tragic legacy of Apartheid, today South Africa has transformed itself into one of the leading economic, political and cultural centers on the African continent. The country is, by far, one of the most democratic countries in Africa, and its growing economy is frequently likened to other emerging middle economies, such as those in Nigeria, Brazil, and India. South Africa is home to some of the most stunning and iconic natural landscapes in the world and its cities, particularly Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, are now incredibly modern and cosmopolitan, particularly in comparison to much of the rest of the continent.
South Africa is home to an enviable system of national parks, nature reserves and stunning wildlife. One such treasure, Kruger National Park, is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, covering an area of approximately 7,400 square miles. Kruger, along with many of the other parks that make up this marvelous network, is considered a national treasure, and a park where much emphasis is placed on sustainable tourism and preserving the country’s natural landscapes and wildlife.
A very multicultural and multiethnic country, South Africa is home to many different languages, religions, customs and traditions, all of which are constitutionally protected by the South African government. Eleven languages are considered official in the country, including the Dutch-based language known as Afrikaans and English. This diversity makes it much more comfortable for visiting students and will help them adapt more rapidly to their new surroundings. Many sports are played in South Africa, the most popular being rugby and soccer, the latter of which put South Africa in the international spotlight a few years back when the country hosted the 2010 World Cup Tournament. Music is very popular in the country, with styles as diverse as the population, and the people are some of the friendliest in the world.
Higher Education and Graduate Studies in South Africa
The higher education and professional training system in South Africa, otherwise known as tertiary education, includes programs for undergraduate students as well as for those seeking graduate and postgraduate degrees, certificates and diplomas, with the highest achievement being the doctoral or PhD degree.
In South Africa, a matric endorsement is required for those who wish to pursue a university degree, with a minimum of three subjects passed at the higher, rather than the standard, grade, although some universities also set additional academic requirements. A standard school-leaving South African senior certificate, the equivalent of a high school diploma in the United States, is sufficient for those planning to pursue technical qualifications and diplomas.
South Africa has an excellent and vibrant higher education sector, boasting 23 state-funded tertiary institutions: 11 universities, six universities of technology, and six comprehensive institutions. There are also a couple of recently opened public facilities, namely the Northern Cape National Institute for Higher Education, and the Mpumalanga National Institute for Higher Education. Many of South Africa's universities are internationally ranked, with facilities that provide cutting edge research in a variety of spheres. Although subsidized by the state, the universities are autonomous, reporting to their own councils rather than the government.
According to figures from the Council of Higher Education, the main oversight body for South Africa’s higher education system, approximately 895,000 students were enrolled in South Africa's public higher-education institutions in 2013, a number that includes international or foreign-born students from around the world.
In addition to the public institutes of higher learning, South Africa is also home to 115 private institutions of higher learning, 88 of which are registered and 27 provisionally registered with the Department of Higher Education to confer specific degrees (Bachelor, Master’s and Doctorate degrees), certificates and diplomas.
Since 2009, the Department of Higher Education and Training has also been responsible for Further Education and Training (FET), which covers training provided from Grades 10 to 12, including career-oriented education and training offered in technical colleges, community colleges and private colleges. There are currently around 450 registered FET colleges in South Africa.
Why Study Abroad in South AfricaSouth Africa is a wonderful choice for anyone thinking of studying abroad. Not only does the country offer a wide range of degree and diploma options, there are also scores of professional programs available for those who want to focus their studies in a specific career field. South Africa is a melting pot of different ethnicities, cultures, languages, and religions, and its universities welcome the presence of international students. This amazing diversity provides students with the unique opportunity to gain many different academic, national and cultural perspectives.
Outside of the classroom, South Africa offers a bounty of activities and sightseeing attractions to behold. From a natural standpoint, the country is both diverse and beautiful, and its world-famous system of National Parks is filled with unforgettable landscapes and some of the most exotic wildlife on the planet. South Africa’s Eastern Cape, known as the “Wild Coast,” is also incredibly scenic, featuring waterfalls, pristine forests and white sand beaches that are rarely touched by humankind. These and other natural settings provide the backdrop for some of the fun and exciting activities pursued here, including bungee jumping from 710 feet up off the world’s highest bungee jump platform; swimming with the penguins at beautiful Boulders Beach; and diving with Great White Sharks (from the safety of a cage, of course) off South Africa’s extensive coast.The cities in South Africa, most notably Cape Town and Johannesburg, provide countless opportunities for shopping, dining and sightseeing, and by nightfall the bars and nightclubs come alive as university students come together to unwind and party after a long week of studying.. It is in these cities that you will also find the greatest concentration of museums, galleries and theaters, as well as some of the country’s most prized landmarks that together tell the story of this proud nation. Finally, for students who are interested in giving back as part of their study abroad experience, South Africa offers a variety of programs that will afford them the opportunity to become active in their local community and work with people and groups that are struggling.
Online degree, online courses and distance learning schools in South Africa
South Africa has a quality system of education that simply has no equal on the continent of Africa. As an educational leader of the region, the country’s government is always striving to offer its students the widest array of courses and the most up-to-date delivery methods, including many programs that are now conducted partially or entirely online. This is known as distance education, and in South Africa, programs such as these are now leading to a variety of degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
About Online Education in South Africa
In recent years, the commitment South Africa has made to implementing and improving distance and e-learning programs has revolutionized its system of education, particularly higher education. All schools in South Africa are now connected with basic ICT features, connecting teachers and pupils through a system that South Africa has dubbed “EduNet”—a cutting-edge countrywide distance learning system. In addition, the country’s main educational body, the Education Ministry, recently created an online portal known as Thutong, a system designed to spread distance learning opportunities and resources throughout every South African community. Through this portal, teachers, learners and parents can access valuable educational resources aimed at enhancing the learning experience—resources which are free to access for every citizen in the country.
Distance or Online Education addresses two categories within South Africa’s educational system: academics and vocational/professional studies.
Not too long ago, online education in South Africa was assumed to be inferior to other educational delivery models. Much of this was critique was quite deserved, as most of the early programs were offer by non-accredited bodies who were simply motivated by the prospect of easy money. Today, however, all of that has changed. Most major universities in South Africa now offer online education as part of their overall curriculum, and the majority of upper high school, college and graduate students in South Africa now take at least one or more academic classes a year via an online format, where lessons are completed independently at the student’s own pace and sent back to the instructor via email. There are also plenty of opportunities in which students can interface with instructors, sometimes as often as two to three times a week, and to work cooperatively and electronically with other students in the same course. About half of these programs require some attendance, usually for events such as exams, guest lectures, etc., while others are conducted entirely over the Internet.
Vocational and Professional Programs
In many of South Africa’s vocational institutions and professional programs, students are now given the option of completing the classroom-based portion of their course through distance learning. Some of the courses offered, most of which lead to online diplomas and/or certification rather than degrees, include hotel and hospitality management, business and marketing, IT, paralegal studies, corrections and even law. These courses give students the opportunity to continue working towards their degree while also working a full-time job.
The Benefits of Distance Education in South Africa
The advancements being made in digital technology have opened up education to a wide variety of people that would otherwise be excluded. Most of South Africa’s universities are concentrated in the country’s major urban areas, in places such as Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg. This can make it very difficult for individuals living in the country’s wide expanse of rural country to participate in the educational system. Fortunately, with the expansion of distance learning programs many of these people are now able to pursue a variety of educational options, including academic, professional and vocational opportunities that were once not attainable due to distance.
Distance education not only benefits those people who are challenged by geographic limitations, it also opens doors to those challenged by time or disability. People who must work full-time to support themselves and their family, for example, may not have the time or energy to make regular trips to one of South Africa’s brick and mortar universities; and many of those struggling with disabilities have other challenges that prevent them from attending classroom-based lectures and courses. With online programs, individuals such as these can now study from the comfort of their home—and at their own pace—without having to worry about the time, hassle and expense of making regular trips to a physical institution. Students can watch live-streamed lectures, attend virtual seminars and receive and remit assignments via email. They can even set up weekly conferences with instructors and fellow students, and use email and messaging software when they have questions for the instructor.
Students are not the only ones who benefit from these types of online programs. By reaching out to a wider range of potential students, online programs have been credited with recent spikes in university enrollments, adding much needed funds into the schools’ collective coffers. Distance education also limits the amount of classroom space universities need, thus enabling them to enroll more students than the university can actually accommodate. Finally, the ability to offer fewer lecture-based courses, and more through an online format, means that institutions of higher learning can now streamline their staffing in ways that are beneficial to their bottom line.