According to the Council on Higher Education (CHE) latest BrieflySpeaking report published in February 2018, Private higher education in South Africa is highly regulated.

This report, highly states that the barriers to entry are high, and that external monitoring is rigorous.┬áThe regulatory framework and accreditation processes are designed to ensure that the provision of private higher education meets stipulated quality standards. South Africa’s Private Education Providers also have to comply with three (3) separate regulators in that:

  1. An Institutions need to fulfil a number of conditions for registration with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), and
  2. The programmes they offer must be accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and
  3. Registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in the same way as those offered in the public sector.

There are periodically providers that operate illegally and that exploit students through charging for non – recognised qualifications. This results in clamp-downs by the DHET in which arrests are made by the police and institutions are closed down. To combat illegal offering, the DHET also runs awareness campaigns to inform the public that it is essential to check the registration status of an institution on their website before handing over any money.

In general, however, the regulatory environment has ensured that the private sector is credible, and that it has not grown exponentially and in an uncontrolled way as in some other countries. This is fortuitous, as South Africa is not in a position where regulation has had to be enforced after the fact of rapid expansion. The sector thus stands poised to grow from a carefully regulated base.