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South Africa

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

South Africa's Department of Education and the Ministry of Education are the primary government bodies that deal with education at the national level. The Constitution of 1996 has also vested substantial powers in each of the nine provincial legislatures and governments to run educational affairs, other than the universities and technikons, whose administration remains the responsibility of the national level organs. The national government is responsible only for matters that cannot be regulated effectively by provincial legislatures and others that need to be coordinated in terms of national norms and standards. The Ministry of Education has overall responsibility for government policy on education and training. Relations with provincial departments are regulated by a national policy framework and national legislation within which the provincial departments set their own priorities and programs. In addition, other government ministries such as the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Health collaborate with the above government bodies in relevant areas, depending on the focus of educational work (for example, public private partnerships in training and apprenticeships to meet labor market needs and cooperative ventures to tackle the monumental problem of HIV/AIDS education and awareness among students and educators in the country). A full range of departments, commissions, and offices attached to the principal government bodies charged with formulating and implementing educational policies and practices also exists. Assisting with the development and implementation of higher education policies and practices and coordinating the provision of education at the tertiary level are the South African Universities' Vice-Chancellors' Association (SAUVCA) and the Committee of Technikon Principals, both located in Pretoria.

The budget for education is adopted at the national level and disbursed to the provinces. In 1996 public expenditures on education in South Africa equaled 7.9 percent of the gross national product (GNP). In 1999-2000, the education sector was allocated R46.84 billion (US$1= R7), 21.3 percent of the total government expenditure that year, equivalent to 6.5 percent of South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP). About one-sixth of the budget went to universities and technikons, including a National Student Financial Aid scheme.

About 85 percent of the national budget for education is allocated to the provinces. New National Norms and Standards for School Funding became policy on 1 April 1999, applying uniformly across the nine provinces. The norms and standards are aimed at achieving equity in the distribution of resources by progressively redistributing non-personnel expenditures in schools. Education departments in the provinces are required to direct 60 percent of their non-personnel and non-capital resources toward the poorest 40 percent of schools in the province. Schools are divided into five categories based on need, with the poorest 20 percent (i.e., the bottom quintile) receiving 35 percent and the richest 20 percent (i.e., the top quintile) receiving 5 percent of the resources available to each provincial department of education. New criteria have also been established by which independent schools are subsidized in inverse proportion to the fees they charge students, where the higher the fee a school charges, the lesser the subsidy it will receive.

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceSouth Africa - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education