Higher Education Enrolment Programme Services is a flagship programme of Higher Education South Africa (HESA) made up of four projects namely: Matriculation Board, Equivalence Setting, National Information Service for Higher Education (Nishe) and National Benchmark Tests (NBT). The role of Higher Education Enrolment Programme is to manage and coordinate these projects. The Equivalence Setting project conducts research focusing on comparison of the international school exit qualifications with the local one, with a view of informing the minimum admission requirements to higher education. On the other hand, Nishe focuses on providing career information to learners in the Further Education and Training Band of schooling (grade 10 -12) as well as illuminating opportunities that exist in higher education and providing general information about higher education, Further Education and Training Colleges and financial assistance. Once access to higher education is achieved, NBT is called upon to determine the proficiency of students so that the institution could know precisely what kind of intervention is required to optimise their performance and ramp up the throughput rates.

The Matriculation Board is a statutory advisory committee on minimum admission requirements to HESA, a successor organisation to the South African Universities Vice-Chancellors Association (SAUVCA) and the Committee of Technikon Principals (CTP).

The Matriculation Board has a long history that dates back to statutory responsibilities vested in the then Joint Matriculation Board (JMB). The JMB operated from 1918 to 1992 when it was dissolved and its records were transferred to the Matriculation Board, a statutory advisory structure of SAUVCA. The functions of moderation, examination and certification were transferred to the South African Certification Council – now known as Umalusi – while the function of determining minimum thresholds to degree studies was retained by the Matriculation Board.

The Higher Education Act 101 of 1997 provides for the functions of the Matriculation Board to determine minimum general university admission requirements better known as matriculation endorsement requirements which are determined and are published in the Government Gazette.

The Matriculation Board has a staff complement of 20 members who are responsible for administering the government-approved endorsement and exemption regulations and resolutions. The Matriculation Board committee continues to fulfill its statutory role and function in regulating admissions to degree studies, which entails a range of services:

Certifying applications for exemption from the matriculation endorsement requirements;
Benchmarking international and regional qualifications such as those from South African Development Community (SADC) and maintaining international profiles on 176 countries; and
Providing critical advisory services to schools, parents and higher education institutions regarding minimum admission requirements.

In its quest to offer efficient service to students and institutions, 40 000 exemption certificates were issued in 2016. The Matriculation Board continues to provide an important service to students who do not meet the statutory minimum admission requirements to enter degree studies in public universities in South Africa. It is against this background that the Matriculation Board provides second opportunity to non-traditional students and matured students to access higher education and therefore, succeeding in its mandate of widening participation to higher education.

In 2008, the new policy on minimum admission requirements was introduced with the first cohort of grade 12 learners obtaining the new National Senior Certificate (NSC) and entering universities in 2009. As the corollary effect of the introduction of NSC; was the three tier admission requirement to higher education, namely: higher certificate, diploma and bachelor’s degree. It is envisaged that the services of the Matriculation Board or the future agency will be extended to include the regulation of minimum entry requirements to these three tier admission levels and its services will, in time, be offered to both public and private higher education institutions.

HESA’ Admissions Committee was established to take over the functions of the Matriculation Board once the statutory powers falls away. Since 2010, the Matriculation Board and Admissions Committee held joint meetings with Matriculation Board members reserving the right of vote on the issues that affect the Matriculation Board.

Members of joint the Admissions Committee and Matriculation Board:

  • Prof Peter Mbati (Chairperson: Admissions Committee)
  • Hugh Amoore (Acting Chairperson: Matriculation Board)
  • Prof Cheryl Foxcroft
  • Prof S Howie
  • Prof C Loock
  • Dr D Mokoena
  • Dr G Vinger
  • Prof A Bawa (Ex Officio)
  • Dr B Kramer (Ex Officio)
  • Ms C Crosley
  • Ms C Myburgh
  • Ms N Dlamini (SATN representative)
  • Dr M Rakometsi (Umalusi representative)