In addition to the 26 public institutions, there are many private higher education institutions. These institutions play an important role in meeting the demand for post-school learning opportunities, particularly in areas that are not addressed by public universities.

Which qualifications are offered by private higher education institutions?

Private higher education institutions offer a diverse range of programmes in specialised fields such as advertising, design, fashion, film and television, in addition to areas such as business, management and information technology that are also offered by public universities. Private institutions are also involved in the training of teachers and pastors/ministers of various religious denominations, as well as training people with disabilities who have special educational needs.

How do I choose a reputable private higher education institution?

The Higher Education Act of 1997 requires private higher education institutions to be registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and their programmes must be accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE). The DHET regularly updates the list of registered and accredited private higher education institutions that includes the name of the institution, site of delivery, province and all the qualifications offered.

Before selecting a private provider, check that they are on the latest DHET list and that the qualification you want to enrol for is included in the list. It is also useful to find additional information such as how long the institution has been in business and whether it has received negative publicity. If possible, speak to someone who recently completed the qualification you want to enrol for at the institution to find out about the quality of delivery and whether the qualification was valued by employers.

The Department of Higher Education provides a list of all accredited private higher education institutions on its website. Click on and select the “Register of Private Higher Education Institutions”.