Types of Colleges

Types of Colleges

In South Africa, students can study at private or public colleges, and there isn’t much of a difference between these two types of colleges

The South African education system comprises three educational bands:

  • Basic Education (First twelve years of school)
  • Technical Vocational Education and Training (This includes vocational and occupational education and training offered at colleges)
  • Higher Education (Universities and universities of technology)

Both public and private colleges fall within the second band of education - Technical Vocational Education and Training. To offer post-school education, these colleges have to follow specific rules and standards. They also have to be registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).  

The Difference Between Public and Private Colleges in South Africa

Even though these two types of colleges fall under the same education band, they have one defining difference; the government funds public colleges while a private group (stakeholders) or one individual (owner of the college) funds private colleges.

Because of this difference, both private and public colleges have their advantages and disadvantages.

The Benefits of Studying at a Public College in South Africa

As public colleges qualify for state funds and subsidies, they can get support from the government whenever they need it. It also allows them to offer state-sponsored bursaries to students in need. This makes public colleges popular amongst prospective students who don’t have the funds to further their studies.

The Benefits of Studying at a Private College in South Africa

Private colleges get no money from the government. Even though this sounds bad, it has an advantage. When the government’s funding runs out, they cannot help the public colleges in need. This has not only a negative effect on the college but also its students.

Private colleges are in control of their own funds and administrative issues, so a shortage of funds and government-employed teachers’ strikes do not affect them in any way.  

Which is better, public or private college?

There are both private and public colleges that are excellent at what they do, but also a few of them you should stay away from.

Do your own research before you register with a college. Think about what it is you want to achieve with your studies and how much time and money you can spend on your education.

If you would like to view a list of private colleges in South Africa, click here.

If you would like to view a list of public colleges in South Africa, click here.




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