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Technical and vocational institutions also offer undergraduate and graduate degrees, with an emphasis on applied research.

Country Overview

Democracy has taken root since 1994, when half a century of white minority rule – and a policy of apartheid, which separated blacks and whites – came to an end. South Africa has since had four national elections and is moving forward with the largest economy in Africa at the same time it is being pulled back by a legacy of social imbalances. The country has serious problems with housing, education, health care, unemployment, poverty, and crime. One in seven people is infected with HIV. South Africa, which is situated at the southern tip of the African continent, is geographically and ethnically diverse and has 11 official languages.

Climate

South Africa's climatic conditions generally range from Mediterranean in the southwestern corner of South Africa to temperate in the interior plateau, and subtropical in the northeast. A small area in the northwest has a desert climate. Most of the country has warm, sunny days and cool nights. Rainfall generally occurs during summer (November through March), although in the southwest, around Cape Town, rainfall occurs in winter (June to August). Temperatures are influenced by variations in elevation, terrain, and ocean currents more than latitude.

Temperature and rainfall patterns vary in response to the movement of a high pressure belt that circles the globe between 25º and 30º south latitude during the winter and low-pressure systems that occur during summer. There is very little difference in average temperatures from south to north, however, in part because the inland plateau rises slightly in the northeast. For example, the average annual temperature in Cape Town is 17ºC, and in Pretoria, 17.5ºC, although these cities are separated by almost ten degrees of latitude. Maximum temperatures often exceed 32ºC in the summer, and reach 38ºC in some areas of the far north. The country's highest recorded temperatures, close to 48ºC, have occurred in both the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

GDP

$491,000,000,000

Population

49,052,489

Overview of Higher Education

The public system of higher education in South Africa has been reconfigured over the past decade to encompass 11 traditional universities, six comprehensive universities (a merger of traditional universities with technical schools), and six universities of technology. The country also has nearly 100 private institutions of higher education.
 
Only since 1986 have institutions been able to admit students regardless of race or ethnicity. The primary undergraduate degree is the so-called ordinary bachelor’s, which typically requires three years of study. A bachelor's with honors is required for admission to postgraduate programs that can result in a master’s degree after one or two years. A doctorate requires at least two years of additional research. Technical and vocational institutions (known as technikons) also offer university-level degrees, such as bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with an emphasis on applied research.
 
(Sources:  BBC, South African Council on Higher Education, International Education Association of South Africa, Southafrica.info)

Number of Colleges, Universities, Technical Institutes

Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (total): 27

Number of Higher Education Students

Number of students enrolled: 741,383

Number of international students enrolled: 53,733

Contact Information

Department of Education

Sol Plaatje House, 123 Schoeman Street, Pretoria 0001, South Africa,

Web site: http://www.education.gov.za/

Phone: +27 12 312 5274/ 5482

E-mail: mampane.g@doe.gov.za

Contact: Ms G Mampane, Executive Asstistant to the Minister