South Africa

SOURCE: TIMSS 2011 Encyclopedia: education policy and curriculum in mathematics and science. Vol. 2: L-Z and benchmarking participants
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.Feza, V.Reddy, C.Prinsloo
DEPARTMENT: Inclusive Economic Development (IED)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7704
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/9030

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The South African education system is categorized into three hierarchical levels: the General Education and Training Phase, comprising reception year to ninth grade (Grades R-9); the Further Education and Training Phase, comprising Grades 10-12, including technical colleges, community youth colleges, and other non-formal post-general education; and the Higher Education Phase, comprising degree, diploma, and certificate programs up to the doctoral level. The curriculum divides the General Education and Training Phase into three sub-phases: Foundation Phase (Reception year to Grade 3), Intermediate Phase (Grades 4-6), and Senior Phase (Grades 7-9). The General and Further Education and Training Phase is compulsory and is conducted by two types of schools: public schools and independent schools (private schools). Independent schools must be registered by a head of school and must maintain standards comparable to public schools. South Africa has two types of public schools, which continue to be affected by socio-economic factors inherited from the Apartheid period: African schools, located in areas with the lowest economic status where the majority of Africans live; and multiracial schools, comprising former white schools, Indian schools, and Coloured TIMMS 2011 ENCYCLOPEDIA 850 South Africa schools. The historical impact of these separate schools is significant, and it is very rare for other racial groups to attend African schools. In 2011, there were a total of 25,851 schools (of both types) in South Africa: 94.3 percent public, and 5.8 percent independent. The population in these schools consisted of 12,283,875 students, with 96.1 percent enrolled in public schools and 3.9 percent in independent schools. The same year, these schools collectively employed 420,608 teachers and principals, with 92.7 percent in public schools and 7.5 percent in independent schools.