Umalusi: the Umbrella Board for DBE, IEB and SACAI

Umalusi is a Nguni word that means shepherd or herder. It can alternatively be used to describe the guardian of the family’s wealth or the person in charge of the nation’s most valued assets. which is fitting for the Quality Assurance Council for General and Further Education and Training. It is one of three quality council bodies in South Africa– the others being the Council of Higher Education (CHE) and the Quality Council for Trade and Occupation– established to develop an education framework and manage standards of qualifications for general and further education and training.

Umalusi issues and verifies qualifications such as the National Senior Certificate (NSC), which is your matric certificate, Vocational certificates and Adult Education and Training. Umalusi also ensures that assessments for certifications in schools meet the required standards.

For Umalusi to certify qualifications it must be registered with the General and Further Education and Training Qualifications. The assessment of the qualification must be nationally approved by the state, or by an assessment body accredited by Umalusi.

Umalusi offers the NSC through different assessment bodies, mainly the Independent Examination Board, Department of Basic Education and South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI). Someone can complete their matric through any of these bodies.

The main characteristics of these are:

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is the main assessment body which deals with assessments from Grade 1-12 and including adult literacy programs. The main aim of the DBE is to develop, maintain and support the South African schools. The DBE mainly operates within the public school sector, although private schools may adopt the framework of the DBE.

The International Examination Board (IEB) is one of the bodies that offer the National Senior Certificate for various clients but primarily for private schools. It is prominent in setting high quality examinations for matric students. The IEB is regulated by the DBE and Umalusi but it is an internationally established board.

The South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI) is a non-profit body that assesses the National Senior Certificate and General Education and Training Certificate: Adult Basic Education and Training. (GETC:ABET). It is mainly responsible for students who prefer distance learning.

Elroi Academy is registered with SACAI as a distance education provider, not a school. Our Matric is therefore a normal Umalusi NSC certificate, but our students write the SACAI final examinations. Repeaters that did their Matric with SACAI, DBE or IEB can register to rewrite through SACAI and combine their results or certificate because we offer the same qualification.

The three bodies operate differently and independently from each other but they all fall under the guidelines of Umalusi.

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