Explore the challenges and successes of transforming education and explore its role in a changing South Africa.

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  • Learn through hands-on experiences, including observation sessions and practicums in urban primary schools in Durban and in a secondary school in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

    In KwaZulu-Natal, participate in a one-week practicum and observation of nearby educational institutions and a government center that manages education in the province. You will be encouraged to integrate theory and practice, develop field skills, and analyze what you observe. In Durban, you may serve as a camp counselor at a weekend youth camp.

  • Develop a multidimensional and holistic understanding of education issues in South Africa.

    Lectures, discussions, and workshops address how the political system, health, development, and languages intersect with education. Visiting schools, NGOs, local communities, and government offices and practicing field study methods make lecture topics more concrete. 

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    Compare educational approaches within South Africa during excursions to Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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    Participate in a weeklong educational transformation and leadership workshop with South African learners.

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    Experience rural and urban South African life through homestays in two very different communities.

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    Visit nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and government offices engaged in crafting education policy and implementing programs.

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    See lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and/or rhinos at Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve and visit other key sites such as the Hector Pieterson Museum, the Apartheid Museum, and Gandhi’s Phoenix Settlement.

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    Gain an introduction to Zulu language and culture.

Critical Global Issue of Study

Peace | Human Rights | Social Movements

Peace | Human Rights | Social Movements

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Key Topics of Study


Key Topics of Study

  • The ways in which educational institutions re­flect difference—and differential access—in South Africa
  • Education policy and the role of education in South Africa’s development
  • Diverse and differing perspectives on education issues in South Africa
  • The legacy of apartheid in South Africa’s educational system and current challenges
  • Educational approaches within South Africa, including multicultural and non-formal education and the “demise” of outcomes-based education
  • South Africa’s political system, crime rate, and overall condition
  • Education in urban and rural contexts
  • Education, gender, and sexuality
  • HIV/AIDS education and life-skills training
  • The transformation of tertiary education




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The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Education and Social Change Seminar – syllabus
(IEDP3000 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
An examination of education in South Africa in the context of historical circumstances, contemporary public policy, and social and economic development. Lectures and discussions combine with field study, visits to schools, NGOs, local communities, and government offices.
Education Practicum – syllabus
(PRAC3000 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
A firsthand examination of educational issues through practicum experiences in both rural and urban KwaZulu-Natal. The Zululand rural homestay period includes a one-week practicum and observation of nearby educational institutions. Urban practicum experiences in Durban may include participation in a weekend youth camp, where students will serve as camp counselors.




Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

In addition to primary and secondary schools, tertiary institutions, and adult training and educational centers in urban and rural South Africa, you may have the opportunity to visit: 

Hector Pieterson Museum, Johannesburg

The Hector Pieterson Museum opened in Soweto in 2002, not far from where 12-year-old Hector was shot on June 16, 1976, during the Soweto uprising that today symbolizes resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. On the day Hector was killed, schoolchildren had gathered to protest the imposition of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in township schools. They were singing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (God Bless Africa, now South Africa’s national anthem) when the authorities approached, and before the children could disperse, the police opened fire. At least 20 children died.

Apartheid Museum

changeThe Apartheid Museum, which opened in 2001, traces the rise and fall of apartheid. The exhibits are fundamental to an understanding of South Africa’s history and enable you to experience what it was like to live under apartheid. 

Luthuli Museum

The Luthuli Museum includes the original home of Chief Albert Luthuli. Built in 1927, the home today is a national monument. The grounds include landscaped gardens that provide an ideal setting in which to absorb the history and achievements of the man who was the first African to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. He was a leader ahead of his time, whose commitment to nonviolence, non-racialism, democracy, and human rights left an enduring legacy.

Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve

lion cubThe Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu Natal. Established in 1895 in the heart of Zululand (along with nearby St. Lucia Reserve), this is the oldest game park in South Africa and the oldest game reserve in Africa. It is where Zulu kings hunted, and where the first conservation laws were put in place. Today, Africa’s “Big Five” (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros) stalk the flourishing savannah. Game viewing is the principal attraction here.

Cape Town

The concluding excursion to Cape Town provides you with the opportunity to compare educational approaches in Cape Flats schools, visit the center of lawmaking in South Africa, and discuss educational policy with teachers, administrators, and activists in the Western Cape.

Other site visits may include:

  • Gandhi’s Phoenix Settlement
  • City Walk 
  • The South Coast, with University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) education students
  • Centre for Civil Society and UKZN campus walk
  • Inanda Seminary Environment and Language Education Trust, an education NGO 
  • eTekwini Area-Based Management and various rural schools
  • South Durban Basin, an education and environment project
  • St. Lucia 
  • Sharks rugby game
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Faculty and Staff


Faculty and Staff

Imraan Buccus, PhD Candidate, Academic Director

Imraan BuccusImraan has an undergraduate degree in education and a master’s degree in social policy from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. He is a PhD research fellow in development studies at Radboud Nijmegen University in the Netherlands. In addition, he is a research fellow in the School of Social Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is also academic director for SIT’s South Africa: Social and Political Transformation semester program based in Durban. Imraan worked as academic coordinator of the Workers College, a progressive experiential college for workers from the trade union movement, where he developed a passion for experiential education. He was also research manager at the Centre for Public Participation, an NGO focused on participatory democracy in post-apartheid South Africa. He is a columnist for Durban’s popular morning paper, The Mercury.

Toni D’Amant, PhD, Practicum and Academic Coordinator

Toni has a PhD in education and is a senior lecturer at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) in the School of Education and Development. Her lectures and research address teaching for diversity, inclusion and social justice, the sociology of education, and educational psychology. She has worked extensively in rural areas across four provinces in South Africa as part of her involvement with the teacher development components of various interventions and pilot projects. She has been involved with an SIT rural community engagement initiative since 2008, planning and implementing the student training program for both SIT and UKZN students. As practicum and academic coordinator for the SIT summer education program, she works with students to better understand developmental dynamics in rural areas of South Africa. 

Shola Haricharan, Office Manager and Homestay Coordinator

Shola has been with the program in various capacities since its inception in 1992. Prior to that, she worked in administrative capacities with nongovernmental groups, some of which were active in the anti-apartheid struggle. 

Lecturers for this program include the following faculty from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and other institutions:

Janine Hicks

Janine is a senior commissioner with South Africa’s Commission on Gender Equality. She has more than two decades of experience working with South African civil society and educational institutions, and is widely published in the areas of participatory democracy, gender issues, and issues around access to education for women in South Africa.

Monique Marks, PhD

Monique is a professor of sociology in the Community Development Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is also a research associate of the Centre of Criminology at the University of Cape Town. She has published widely in the areas of youth social movements, ethnographic research methods, police labor relations, police organizational change, and security governance. She has published three books: Young Warriors: Youth Identity, Politics and Violence in South Africa; Transforming the Robocops: Changing Police in South Africa; and Police Occupational Culture: New Debates and Directions (edited with Anne-Marie Singh).

Michael Sutcliffe, PhD

As Durban’s former city manager, Michael speaks about the experience of hosting the Soccer World Cup. He has a PhD from Ohio State University in city planning and was the chairperson of South Africa’s Demarcation Board in the post-apartheid order. Michael played a significant role in the country’s anti-apartheid struggle and is widely recognized as an influential member of the African National Congress, the ruling party in South Africa.

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SIT really shaped the rest of my academic career path after college.

Jordan Ashwood, Harvard College

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The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.

Students on this program typically experience two homestays: two to three weeks in an urban area and a one-week rural homestay.

Urban Homestay

homestayThe urban homestay, which takes place in Cato Manor and/or Newlands, exposes you to communities facing a number of social challenges. You will witness a strong and vibrant civil society as these communities initiate change from within.

In Cato Manor, you will live with a Zulu-speaking host family in a working-class township, where you will learn “survival” Zulu and gain an appreciation for the richness and challenges of township life. 

Cato Manor has a rich history of African and Indian resistance and culture. The area is famous for the 1949 race riots and the 1959 beer hall riots, which resulted in the area being declared for “whites only.” The community was destroyed, houses were torn down, and residents relocated to other areas. The land remained vacant—save for a scattering of churches, mosques, and Hindu temples—until near the end of the apartheid period, when African and Indian families began to move back to reclaim their land. Acknowledging the need to redress the wrongs of the past, the post-1994 government designated Cato Manor a lead urban development project and built low-cost housing, a heritage center, schools, libraries, community centers, and clinics. 

The homestay in Newlands is with Coloured and Indian families of differing socioeconomic status. This area, which was designated “non-white” during apartheid, has a rich cultural dynamic and offers an experience markedly different from that in Cato Manor.

Rural Homestay in Amacambini

homestayStudents are usually placed in pairs during a short homestay in a rural area of KwaZulu Natal, Amacambini, approximately 100 kilometers north of Durban. You will experience rural life and gain practical experience in a “winter school” for secondary school students. This experience clarifies the stark contrasts between rural and historically disadvantaged schools and the advantaged, predominantly white schools in South Africa’s urban areas.

Conditions in Amacambini are basic, and there is a marked difference between households; many do not have electricity, indoor plumbing, or piped water. 

Amacambini is under the leadership of Nkosi Mataba, and the land is held in trust for the community by a traditional authority. Formal employment rates are low and livelihoods revolve around small-scale agriculture and remittances from family members living in nearby cities. 

The Amacambini area has recently been earmarked for a multibillion-rand development project that would see thousands of families removed from their ancestral lands. The planned development initiative is for AmaZulu, a Disneyland-style African theme park. Members of the community have taken a strong stand over their right to determine any development that occurs on their land. 

Cost and Scholarships


Cost and Scholarships

SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students. 

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.


Tuition: $7,685

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who instruct students in:
    • The role of education in South Africa in the context of the country’s historical circumstances, contemporary public policy, and social and economic development
    • Social, cultural, and political aspects of the region
    • Field methods in education
  • The education practicum and visits to primary and secondary schools, tertiary institutions, and adult training and educational centers in urban and rural South Africa
  • All educational excursions to locations such as the Hector Pieterson, Apartheid, and Luthuli museums; the South Coast; Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve; eTekwini Area-Based Management; Gandhi’s Phoenix Settlement; and Grahamstown Arts Festival
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board: $1,490

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period
  • All homestays (two to three weeks in an urban homestay in Cato Manor or Newlands, and one week in a rural stay in Amacambini)
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.

Estimated Additional Costs:

Airfare to Program Site

Airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: $100

International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.

In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.

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