The British Council worked with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in South Africa to support the development of a quality assurance framework for continuous improvement of VET colleges in the country to enable them to better serve their students and communities. 


The performance of VET institutions across South Africa varies greatly, from colleges requiring developmental support, to high-performing colleges. DHET found it challenging to take this disparity into account when it came to providing developmental support, resulting in many colleges receiving support that wasn’t fully meeting their needs.


To address this, we delivered a VET Toolbox intervention to develop an institutional maturity model that could support growth across all colleges. Based on the inspection and regulation services of Ofsted (the UK Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), the model was adapted to the South African context by closely aligning to frameworks, practices and processes used by local VET colleges. As a student-centred model, it focuses on unlocking student potential and providing relevant skills. 

Through the intervention, DHET connected with South Eastern Regional College, in Northern Ireland, to learn from their quality assurance process and better understand how to implement quality assessment in their own colleges. 

Since the project, DHET has successfully launched the model to all 50 VET institutions in South Africa with the aim of providing each with a clear growth pathway. The policy change is currently ongoing and will make the self-assessments an established practice in VET colleges.

The PDF version of the case study is available in the Downloads section below.