Foreign candidates who wish to study at a South African university for first degree studies have to qualify for either a certificate of complete exemption or a certificate of conditional exemption to satisfy the minimum general admission requirements of the 21 South African public universities.
For more information, please visit the website of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
Acceptance of foreign qualifications
Until 3 September 1992 the matriculation exemption regulations of the Joint Matriculation Board (JMB) contained some guidelines on the acceptance of some foreign school qualifications for admission to first degree studies at universities in South Africa.
When the Matriculation Board of the Committee of University Principals (CUP) accepted responsibility for administering the matriculation endorsement and exemption regulations on 4 September 1992, this list was extended in the amended set of regulations that was published on 2 December 1994.
A comprehensive list of foreign qualifications was again published in the latest set of comprehensive matriculation endorsement and exemption regulations in Government Gazette on 28 November 1997. This list is to be supplemented shortly by means of a notice in the Government Gazette and will continue to be supplemented on a regular basis.
The Higher Education Act, Act 101 of 1997, promulgated in December 1997, repealed both the Universities Act and the Technikons Act.
Section 74 of the Higher Education Act, however, determines that those statutory functions performed by the CUP, the Committee for Technikon Principals and the Matriculation Board will be retained for a transitional period.
Towards the end of November 1997 a booklet Foreign Qualifications and their Acceptance for Bachelors Degree Studies at South African Universities was distributed to all universities and a revised version with the same name was circulated subsequently to universities under cover of circular U2/98 of 22 January 1998.
The information presented in the booklet was in tabular format and indicated amongst others the acceptance of foreign qualifications for complete exemption, foreign conditional and mature age conditional exemption or, in some cases, the non-acceptance of certain foreign school leaving qualifications at South African universities.
It should be noted, though, that it was not possible to list all the possible qualifications and combinations of foreign qualifications that could be presented for university admission purposes, but the most general ones are listed according to the country of origin.
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Students Returning to South Africa