Private Schools

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of public (i.e. government) schools in South Africa declined by 9%, whereas the number of independent (i.e. private) schools grew by 44%. According to Umalusi, the statutory quality assurance body, there are about 3 500 registered independent schools1 in the country.

The Private Schools Act 19862 falls under the authority of each provincial MEC, respectively in that province. Although not having any statutory presence, the Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA) plays an important role as the umbrella body of private schools in the country.3

  1. Any person intending to establish, conduct or maintain a private school must apply to the MEC for Education for the registration of that private school. It is an offence to establish, conduct or maintain a private school unless it is registered in terms of the Act.4

  2. Any person who, in connection with an application for registration of a private school, furnishes information, or makes a statement which is false or misleading shall be guilty of an offence.5

  1. Data from ‘The rise of low-fee private schools can only benefit South Africa’. – A report from the Centre for Development and Enterprise; see

  2. As amended; the latest amendment is effected by Act 84 of 1996. 

  3. The offices of ISASA are at 16 St David Road, Houghton (tel. 011 648 1331). 

  4. Section 7(a) read with section 2. 

  5. Section 7(b) read with section 2.