Fact Sheet

Highest Level of Educational Attainment in South Africa, 2023

The information presented in this fact sheet is intended to draw the attention of policy makers to the progress made by the South African education system in terms of the highest levels of educational attainment of the population, including its workforce.


This Fact Sheet provides signals on how best to balance the provisioning of education at distinct levels of the system and seeks to provide answers to the following research questions:

  • What is the highest level of educational attainment of South Africa’s population, including its workforce?
  • What is the profile of those who completed education at various levels, disaggregated by race, gender, and age?
  • How does South Africa compare internationally, in terms of the achievement of literacy and those who have completed degrees?

Highest level of education refers to the highest grade completed at school and/or the highest post-school qualification obtained.

This publication covers

  • Background and Purpose
  • Terms and definitions: Adults, Highest Level of Educational Attainment, Tertiary education, Employed and Unemployed
  • Summary of findings and conclusions