Private universities will save South Africa millions each year, according to Piet Mouton, CEO of PSG – which holds a 58% stake in private school operator Curro.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, Curro plans to expand its higher-education drive, following turmoil at South Africa’s public universities in recent months over fees protests.
PSG, through Curro, plans to invest in more “private higher education institutions”, stated the report.
Curro already plays in the higher education field, with a teacher training college in KwaZulu-Natal, Embury, for 3,000 students.
In 2017, two new Curro higher education institutions will open – one for 1,600 students in Midrand and one for 1,000 students in Pretoria.
An institution in the Western Cape for over 3,000 students will open in the next 2-3 years, stated the report.
“Curro is busy designing courses and degrees and getting them accredited, a process that will take two years.”
Grow private universities
Curro CEO Chris van der Merwe said they aim to grow private higher education in the country, as “there are 50,000 eligible students who cannot find places in public universities”.
Van der Merwe said degrees at Curro institutions would be accredited as public university degrees are, and would cost around R40,000.
Curro universities will not receive government subsidies, he said.
He added that if private universities are not allowed, children of wealthy parents would leave South Africa.
Curro’s private higher education institutions will not be as recognised as UCT or Stellenbosch initially, but work will be done to ensure their degrees fit the needs of corporate South Africa.
Van der Merwe added that 30,000 of the 42,000 pupils at Curro’s private schools are black – and their “universities” will not be “predominantly white institutions”.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has stated that the government is against private universities in SA, as he said they will increase the cost of higher education, lead to academics being poached, and result in wealthy students leaving public universities.
The full report is in the Sunday Times of 23 October 2016.