Choosing the right institution of higher education

Karina Muller, SA Graan/Grain contributor
Published: 6 June 2022


Private institutions offering higher education alongside government-run institutions have become increasingly customary – and agricultural colleges do not fall behind.

The question then is: ‘What should prospective agricultural students look for when choosing an institution to enrol at?’

Registration and accreditation
In the case of private providers of higher education, it is vital for future students to ensure that the establishment of their choice is indeed registered before paying any fees.

The programmes of private institutions should be registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), accredited by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). These programmes should be recognised nationally as well as internationally. In the case of agriculture, AgriSETA (the Agricultural Sector Education Training Authority) is the accreditation body.

How to choose
Majela Mashiloane, secretary general of the Association of Principals of Agricultural Colleges (APAC), says consideration should also be given to the commodity the prospective student is interested in. ‘If a student, for instance, intends to work in viniculture, he or she should attend a college in the wine regions of the country to be exposed in that field.’

Mashiloane also advises prospective students to look at the ‘life around’ the institution. ‘Make sure that you can take part in your particular sports or hobbies at the specific college.’

How to know
To make sure of the accreditation status of an institution, check the web page of the department at

UMALUSI, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, can also be contacted to verify accreditation at

AgriSETA features a list of accredited training providers on their website at Contact them at 012 301 5600 or by sending an email to