What does ISASA do?

ISASA is a non-profit organisation that provides its members with services to protect their interests, promote best practice and support quality education.

Any independent school in Southern Africa may apply for ISASA membership, provided it meets the association’s quality requirements. Each member school pays an annual subscription fee. Membership of ISASA is voluntary and ISASA is not a governing body for private schools.The Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa is the largest and oldest membership organisation for private schools in the region. ISASA serves over 850 member schools across a broad range of socio-economic and cultural communities. Our member schools educate more than 200 000 pupils.

The Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa is the largest and oldest association of independent (private) schools in the Southern African region. ISASA traces its origins to the Conference of Headmasters and Headmistresses, originally formed in 1929.

ISASA has more than 870 school members in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zambia. Over 200,000 learners attend ISASA-affiliated schools.

ISASA is a non-profit, voluntary association and schools elect to apply for ISASA membership. Each member school pays an annual subscription fee and, in return, ISASA provides its members with a range of services. These include financial, advocacy, school best practice, professional development and other services.

ISASA does not own or manage any individual schools and is not a governing body for private schools.

ISASA’s vision is of a Southern Africa in which quality education is available to all learners, the value of independent education in contributing to this goal is recognised, and a value-based, public-spirited community of diverse, high quality independent schools is developed.

The South African Schools Act (SASA) of 1996 established a national schooling system and recognised two categories of schools: public and independent. Public schools are state controlled and independent schools are privately governed. All private schools were included into the independent school category.

Within the public school category, SASA created a sub-category of “public schools on private property” comprising state schools on private land owned by religious bodies, farmers, mines and forestry companies.

The South African definition of independent schools is a narrow one compared to other developing countries, especially as it does not include the “public schools on private property”.

In terms of Section 29 of the Constitution of South Africa, everyone has the right to establish, at his or her own expense, independent educational institutions.

These institutions may not discriminate on the basis of race, must be registered with the state, and must maintain standards not inferior to those of comparable public institutions. State subsidies to independent institutions are permitted, but not guaranteed.

Scroll to Top