The CHE is engaged in various on-going projects aimed at monitoring the higher education system. Currently, there are three main priorities. The first is the further development of a regular monitoring system, the second the regular dissemination of information arising from that system, and the third is integration of such information into evaluative or research-based projects to inform analysis of issues in the higher education sector.

State of higher education review

In order to keep abreast of the developments in the higher education sector and to analyse the sector’s development, the CHE has periodically produced a study reviewing the state of the higher education sector. Initially this research formed a part of the Annual Report, but it was soon evident that a separate publication was necessary. 

The first stand-alone publication appeared in 2004 under the title South African Higher Education in the First Decade of Democracy and the second in 2009 with the title The State of Higher Education in South Africa, while a publication focused on select themes, Review of Higher Education in South Africa was published in 2007. 

The next state of higher education review is planned for 2014 and will mark twenty years since the advent of democratisation in 1994. It is, therefore, time to assess what has been achieved and what issues should now be focused on in order to develop the system optimally.

As well as the principal review publication, the CHE plans a number of associated publications to provide additional reflection on the twenty-year period. For this reason, the CHE issued a call for papers, which is now closed.


VitalStats is the CHE’s annual publication of essential higher education data. It is intended to serve as a source of information for all interested parties in the higher education sector in South Africa, ranging from researchers to the media to NGOs. As such, the purpose of this publication is neither to analyse the sector nor to make comment on developments in the sector. Rather, it is hoped that this publication will prove useful and will encourage empirical research and analysis of the South African higher education sector as well as comparative studies with other countries.

Comments and suggestions for future editions of VitalStats are welcome. Please direct these to Genevieve Simpson.

VitalStats. Public Higher Education, 2010