Pre-colonial & Colonial South Africa
“In pre-colonial South Africa, education was part of daily life. Children learned about their societies and their work from older community members. They learned by experience, from doing tasks and this informal education didn’t stop, like schools do, when children reached a certain age. There were initiation ceremonies and rituals which were part of people’s education. People also learned about their history and past traditions through the songs, poems and stories that were passed on orally.” Christie, 1991
The opening moment of formal education in South Africa coincides with the foundation of the colonial experience at the Cape in 1652. Six years after the Dutch East India Company established its colony at the Cape, the first formal school is begun in 1658. This school was founded by Commander..Read More
The Scholarchs (Committee to oversee education) is established. 3 church ministers and 1 civil servant make up the committee and control education in the Colony. The duties of teachers are spelled out and regulations regarding school organization are laid down. These measures represent the first steps towards formalising education in..Read More
Significant steps were taken by the rapidly growing missionary movement to provide education for both black and white children. This story began with the arrival of the London Missionary Society in 1799 and took shape in the work of people like Dr Phillip and the subsequent establishment of important institutions..
Government Free Schools (also known as English Free Schools) are established throughout the Cape Colony. A school is established at Wynberg and is the forerunner of the Wynberg Boys’ Schools. Based on Lancaster’s monitorial system, the schools are mostly aimed at the poor. Instruction is exclusively in English and at..Read More
The first district boarding schools are established to accommodate children who lived too far from the nearest public school. The first of these was Blaauwvallei near Wellington. A scheme of fixed standards of attainment up to Std 4 is drawn up to ensure that pupils would learn more than just..Read More
Marianhill Mission station and catholic school opens. Proclamation No. 113 of 1882 promises grants for the erection of school buildings and the state will contribute on a pound-for-pound basis. Furniture, books and stationery will also be supplied on a pound-for-pound basis. However, the depression reduces the amount of government money..Read More
In 1910, South Africa achieved its independence from Britain on May 31.
Education reform in the Republic of South Africa (Post-apartheid)
Thank you for taking the time to view this timeline. I’ve tried my best to source the most important events that contributed to the development of education in current day South Africa. So, if you feel that I’ve left something out, feel free to let me know. Your opinion and input mean a lot.
Christie, P.1 986. The Right to Learn – The Struggle for People’s Education in South Africa.
The History of Education: 1658 to present. https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/history-education-1658-present