The Best Schools in South Africa: Top Picks for Quality Education

South Africa is home to several prestigious high schools, but only a select few make it to the list of top 10 best high schools in the country. These schools are known for their exceptional academic programs, state-of-the-art facilities, and outstanding extracurricular activities, making them highly sought-after by students and parents alike. Choosing a high school from this esteemed group ensures top-tier education and a promising future for students in South Africa.

Private schools in South Africa are known for their excellent facilities, highly qualified teachers, and rigorous academic programmes. Many of these schools follow international curriculums such as IGCSE, Cambridge and American, providing students with a globally recognised education. On the other hand, public schools in South Africa offer affordable education to students, with some of them ranking among the top-performing schools in the country.

When looking for top schools in South Africa, it is important to consider various factors, such as academic excellence, extracurricular activities, and facilities. These schools provide a conducive learning environment that fosters both intellectual and personal growth. Choosing the right top school in South Africa can greatly impact a student’s education and future prospects.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the best schools in South Africa, based on their academic performance, facilities, and overall reputation. Whether you are a parent looking for the best school for your child or a student seeking quality education, this article will provide you with valuable insights into the top schools in South Africa.

Best Schools in South Africa

Overview of Education in South Africa

South Africa has made significant progress in improving access to education since the end of apartheid, but challenges remain. The Department of Basic Education is responsible for providing education to learners from early childhood development to Grade 12.

The National Senior Certificate (NSC) is the matriculation qualification awarded to students who successfully complete Grade 12 in South Africa. The academic curriculum is divided into four phases: the foundation phase (grades 1-3), the intermediate phase (grades 4-6), the senior phase (grades 7-9) and FET (grades 10-12).

In 2020, only 10% of 3-5 year-olds in South Africa were enrolled in early childhood education programmes, compared to 83% on average across OECD countries. Additionally, only 15% of 25-34 year-olds had a tertiary qualification in 2020, compared to 47% on average across OECD countries.

The Department of Basic Education has identified over 320 public and private schools as top-performing schools in every province in South Africa. These schools have consistently produced excellent results in the NSC exams.

Despite the progress made, South Africa still faces challenges in providing quality education to all learners. The country has one of the largest education systems in the world, with over 12 million learners and more than 400,000 teachers. The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted existing inequalities in the education system, with many learners lacking access to online learning resources.

Efforts are being made to address these challenges, including increasing access to early childhood education, improving teacher training and support, and investing in infrastructure and resources for schools in underprivileged areas.

Best Schools in South Africa

South Africa is home to some of the best schools in the African continent. These schools have consistently demonstrated academic excellence and produced graduates who have excelled in different fields. This section highlights some of the top-performing schools in South Africa. If you’re searching for the best school in South Africa, look no further. These institutions have been consistently recognized as the top educational institutions in the country. With state-of-the-art facilities, expert faculty, and a diverse range of academic and extracurricular programs, they strive to provide the best education possible to their students.

Eden College

Eden College, located in Durban, is the best-performing school in South Africa. The school has consistently achieved perfect performance in the matriculation exams, with all its students passing with distinctions. Eden College is a private school that offers a British curriculum and has a reputation for academic excellence.

Hilton College

Hilton College is a private school located in KwaZulu-Natal. The school has a reputation for academic excellence and offers a range of academic and extracurricular activities. Hilton College is one of the most expensive schools in South Africa, but its graduates have excelled in different fields, including business, politics, and sports.

St. John’s College

St. John’s College is a private school located in Johannesburg. The school has a reputation for academic excellence and offers a range of academic and extracurricular activities. St. John’s College has produced graduates who have excelled in different fields, including business, politics, and sports.

Westerford High School

Westerford High School is a public school located in Cape Town. The school has a reputation for academic excellence and has consistently produced graduates who have excelled in different fields. Westerford High School offers a range of academic and extracurricular activities, including drama, music, and sports.

Rondebosch Boys’ High School

Rondebosch Boys’ High School is a public school located in Cape Town. The school has a reputation for academic excellence and has consistently produced graduates who have excelled in different fields. Rondebosch Boys’ High School offers a range of academic and extracurricular activities, including drama, music, and sports.

Maritzburg College

Maritzburg College is a public school located in Pietermaritzburg. The school has a reputation for academic excellence and has consistently produced graduates who have excelled in different fields. Maritzburg College offers a range of academic and extracurricular activities, including drama, music, and sports.

South Africa has some of the best schools in Africa, with a reputation for academic excellence. The schools highlighted in this section have consistently demonstrated academic excellence and produced graduates who have excelled in different fields.

Provincial School Performance

South Africa has nine provinces, each with its own unique educational landscape. The Department of Basic Education regularly releases data on the performance of schools in each province. This section provides an overview of the performance of schools in each province, based on the most recent data available.

Gauteng

Gauteng is the economic hub of South Africa and home to some of the country’s best-performing schools. In 2021, Gauteng achieved an overall pass rate of 83.3%, with 32 schools achieving a 100% pass rate. Some of the top-performing schools in Gauteng include:

  • St. John’s College
  • Roedean School
  • Crawford College Sandton
  • Redhill School

Free State

The Free State province consistently performs well in the annual National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams. In 2021, the province achieved an overall pass rate of 85.1%, with 28 schools achieving a 100% pass rate. Some of the top-performing schools in the Free State include:

  • St. Andrew’s School for Girls
  • Grey College
  • Eunice High School
  • Hoërskool Fichardtpark

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape province has a high number of underperforming schools, but there are also several schools that consistently achieve excellent results. In 2021, the province achieved an overall pass rate of 76.5%, with 9 schools achieving a 100% pass rate. Some of the top-performing schools in the Eastern Cape include:

  • St. Dominic’s Priory School
  • Clarendon High School for Girls
  • Grey High School
  • Pearson High School

North West

The North West province has a relatively low number of schools compared to other provinces, but there are several schools that consistently achieve excellent results. In 2021, the province achieved an overall pass rate of 77.6%, with 9 schools achieving a 100% pass rate. Some of the top-performing schools in the North West include:

  • Potchefstroom Gimnasium
  • Hoërskool Schweizer-Reneke
  • Hoërskool Klerksdorp
  • Hoërskool Rustenburg

Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is a relatively small province, but it has several schools that consistently achieve excellent results. In 2021, the province achieved an overall pass rate of 81.3%, with 8 schools achieving a 100% pass rate. Some of the top-performing schools in Mpumalanga include:

  • Uplands College
  • Hoërskool Nelspruit
  • Hoërskool Secunda
  • Hoërskool Evander

Northern Cape

The Northern Cape province has a relatively low number of schools compared to other provinces, but there are several schools that consistently achieve excellent results. In 2021, the province achieved an overall pass rate of 70.6%, with 3 schools achieving a 100% pass rate. Some of the top-performing schools in the Northern Cape include:

  • Kimberley Girls’ High School
  • Hoërskool Diamantveld
  • Hoërskool Upington

Western Cape

The Western Cape province consistently performs well in the annual NSC exams and is home to some of the country’s best-performing schools. In 2021, the province achieved an overall pass rate of 86.3%, with 61 schools achieving a 100% pass rate. Some of the top-performing schools in the Western Cape include:

  • Herschel Girls School
  • Rondebosch Boys’ High School
  • Bishops Diocesan College
  • Rustenburg Girls’ High School

Limpopo

Limpopo is a relatively rural province with a high number of underperforming schools, but there are also several schools that consistently achieve excellent results. In 2021, the province achieved an overall pass rate of 68.8%, with 5 schools achieving a 100% pass rate. Some of the top-performing schools in Limpopo include:

  • Pietersburg Hoërskool
  • Hoërskool Ben Viljoen
  • Hoërskool Louis Trichardt
  • Hoërskool Merensky

Overall, South Africa has many excellent schools across all nine provinces, and the Department of Basic Education continues to work towards improving the quality of education in the country.

Public vs Private Schools

South Africa has a wide range of schools, including public and private institutions. Public schools are government-funded and provide education to all students, while private schools are privately owned and charge tuition fees. Both types of schools have their advantages and disadvantages.

One of the main advantages of public schools is that they are more affordable than private schools. Public schools are funded by the government, which means that tuition fees are lower than those of private schools. This makes them accessible to a wider range of students, including those from low-income families.

On the other hand, private schools offer smaller class sizes and a more personalised approach to education. Private schools have more resources to invest in facilities, equipment, and teachers, which can lead to a higher quality of education. Private schools also have more control over their curriculum and teaching methods, which means that they can tailor their approach to suit the needs of their students.

Private schools in South Africa are not all the same, and their fees vary widely. Some private schools charge very high fees, while others are more affordable. It’s important to research the fees of private schools in your area before making a decision.

In terms of academic performance, private schools generally perform better than public schools. However, this is not always the case, and there are many excellent public schools in South Africa. It’s important to consider factors such as location, facilities, and teaching quality when choosing a school.

Both public and private schools have their advantages and disadvantages. Public schools are more affordable and accessible, while private schools offer smaller class sizes and a more personalised approach to education. When choosing a school, it’s important to consider your budget, location, and the needs of your child.

Prominent Schools in Major Cities

South Africa has a variety of top-tier schools located in major cities, offering strong academic programs and modern facilities. Here are some of the most prominent schools in major cities:

Johannesburg

Johannesburg is one of South Africa’s largest cities and boasts many excellent schools. Some of the best schools in Johannesburg include:

  • St. John’s College
  • St. Stithians College
  • King Edward VII School
  • Roedean School for Girls
  • Parktown Boys’ High School

These schools are known for their academic excellence, as well as their commitment to sports and other extracurricular activities.

Cape Town

Cape Town is a picturesque city that hosts schools that blend academic excellence with breathtaking surroundings, fostering an inspiring learning environment. Some of the best schools in Cape Town include:

  • Herschel Girls School
  • Bishops Diocesan College
  • Rondebosch Boys’ High School
  • Westerford High School
  • Wynberg Boys’ High School

These schools are located in some of the most beautiful areas of Cape Town and offer a range of academic programs and extracurricular activities.

Pretoria

Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and is home to some of the best schools in the country. One of the most prominent schools in Pretoria is Pretoria Boys High School, which has a long and distinguished history of academic excellence. Other top schools in Pretoria include:

  • Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies)
  • Hoërskool Menlopark
  • Pretoria High School for Girls
  • Crawford College Pretoria

These schools offer a range of academic programs, as well as sports and other extracurricular activities.

Overall, South Africa has many excellent schools located in major cities, each with its unique strengths and offerings.

Schools with Exceptional Performance

The Department of Basic Education in South Africa has identified several public schools that have had exceptional performance in the matric exams. These schools have consistently achieved high pass rates and produced learners with excellent results. Here are some of the schools that have been identified:

  • Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool in Pretoria has consistently been one of the top-performing schools in South Africa. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 99.3% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.
  • Hoërskool Waterkloof in Pretoria has also been consistently ranked among the top-performing schools in the country. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 99.1% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.
  • Eunice Secondary School in Bloemfontein is another school that has consistently achieved excellent results. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 97.6% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.
  • Ulwazi High School in East London has also been identified as a school with exceptional performance. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 98.1% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.
  • Wesvalia High School in Klerksdorp has consistently achieved high pass rates and produced learners with excellent results. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 95.2% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.
  • Hoërskool Hopetown in the Northern Cape has also been identified as a school with exceptional performance. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 94.1% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.
  • Highveld Muslim Combine in Mpumalanga has consistently achieved high pass rates and produced learners with excellent results. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 97.7% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.
  • Kearsney College in Durban has also been identified as a school with exceptional performance. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 97.1% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.
  • Eden College in Durban has consistently achieved high pass rates and produced learners with excellent results. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 96.7% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.
  • Bloemhof High School in Stellenbosch has also been identified as a school with exceptional performance. In 2021, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 96.6% of learners achieving a Bachelor’s pass.

Other schools that have been identified include Grey High School, Selborne College, St. John’s College, St. Andrew’s College, Michaelhouse School, Bishops Diocesan College, and St Anne’s Diocesan College. These schools have consistently achieved high pass rates and produced learners with excellent results.

It is worth noting that the schools listed above are not the only schools with exceptional performance in South Africa. There are many other schools that have achieved excellent results and produced learners who have gone on to achieve great things.

Historical Schools in South Africa

South Africa boasts a rich history of educational institutions that have been around for over a century. These schools have played a significant role in shaping the country’s education system and producing some of the most notable alumni across various fields.

One of the oldest schools in South Africa is Bishop’s Diocesan College, which was established in 1849. The school has a rich history and has produced notable alumni.

Roedean School, established in 1903, is another historical school in South Africa that has a reputation for academic excellence. The school has a strong focus on girls’ education and has produced notable alumni.

St Alban’s College, established in 1963, is a historical boys’ school in Pretoria. The school has a reputation for academic excellence and has produced notable alumni.

These schools, along with many others, have played a crucial role in shaping South Africa’s education system and producing some of the country’s most successful individuals.

Most Expensive Schools in South Africa

South Africa is home to some of the most prestigious and expensive schools in the world. These schools offer top-quality education and facilities, but at a cost. Here are some of the most expensive schools in South Africa:

Hilton College

Hilton College, located in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, is the most expensive school in South Africa. The annual fees for 2023 are R343,155.00, which covers boarding, tuition, food, games, minor medical attention, the use of a sanatorium, library, and laundry.

Kearsney College

Kearsney College, located in KwaZulu-Natal, is the second-most expensive school in South Africa. The annual fees for 2023 are R224,620, which is a 7.5% increase from the previous year.

St. John’s College

St. John’s College, located in Johannesburg, is one of the most prestigious schools in South Africa. The annual fees for 2022 were R179,000, making it one of the most expensive day schools in the country.

Michaelhouse

Michaelhouse, located in KwaZulu-Natal, is a boys-only school that offers a world-class education. The annual fees for 2023 are R326,000, which covers boarding, tuition, and other expenses.

Roedean School

Roedean School, located in Johannesburg, is one of the most expensive girls’ schools in South Africa. The annual fees for 2023 are R259,000, which covers tuition, boarding, and other expenses.

These schools offer exceptional education and facilities, but they come at a high cost. However, for parents who can afford it, the investment in their child’s education can be invaluable.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, South Africa has a wide range of excellent schools that offer quality education to students. The government has been working hard to improve the education system in the country, and this is reflected in the increasing number of top-performing schools.

Parents and students looking for the best schools in South Africa can use the information provided in this article as a starting point. It is important to do further research and visit schools in person to get a better understanding of their teaching methods, facilities, and overall atmosphere.

It is worth noting that attending a top-performing school is not the only factor that determines a student’s success. A supportive family environment, dedication to learning, and a positive attitude are also crucial for academic achievement.

Overall, South Africa’s education system still has room for improvement, particularly in addressing the inequality gap. However, the country’s top schools are making significant strides towards providing quality education to all students, regardless of their background.