Key Points:

  • Developing the higher education sector in South Africa is vitally important. Without expanding the size, quality and diversity of higher education, it is hard to see how we can meet critical national goals.
  • South Africa’s universities are nowhere near the level they should be for a country at our level of development.
  • Brazil’s success in expanding access to higher education provides many lessons for developing the higher education sector in South Africa.
  • Faced with rapidly expanding demand and limited public supply, Brazilian authorities opened up the system. As a result, private institutions now comprise 75% of the Brazilian higher education sector.
  • Private institutions were instrumental in the rapid expansion of the higher education sector in Brazil without undermining the quality of provision. In addition, companies made a large contribution to vocational training, developed more effective teaching materials (including television programmes) and set up large education chains to exploit economies of scale