Access to Higher Education | Western Cape Government

Access to Higher Education

(Western Cape Government)

This short document explains what higher education is and provides a brief overview of the transformation process for higher education in the Western Cape.

What is Higher Education?


There are three education bands in South Africa:

  • General Education and Training (NQF level 1).
  • Further Education and Training (NQF levels 2 to 4).
  • Higher Education (NQF levels 5 to 8).


Higher education is provided at universities and technikons. These are autonomous institutions and are not managed by government.


Each institution of higher education has its own Private Act of Parliament, which controls how it is formed and run.


Transformation of Higher Education


In the old South Africa, higher education was not equally accessible to all. After 1994, a plan was therefore developed to transform the higher education (HE) system. The White Paper on HE and the HE Act provided the policy and legislative framework for this.

A national plan for HE was released in March 2001, setting out guidelines and objectives for higher education, including increased enrolment and improved employment equity at HE institutions.

As part of the restructuring of higher education, the training offered at universities and technikons will be consolidated. In the Western Cape, this means that:


  • UCT, UWC and the University of Stellenbosch will remain three separate institutions.
  • The dentistry schools of UWC and Stellenbosch will become a single school, located at UWC.
  • The Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon will be merged.
  • Undergraduate programmes in nursing education will be offered only at UWC and the Technikon.
The content on this page was last updated on 29 October 2015