The Institute of Accounting Science (IAS), a private provider of tertiary postgraduate education for aspiring Chartered Accountants, seems to be set for high growth in what signals the picking up in the pace of education privatisation in South Africa.
The IAS recently announced that three additional top academic staff from Wits University, have joined the institute. This, said the IAS, further strengthens what was already an enviable staff compliment.
The IAS emerges as part of a growing education privatisation trend in South Africa. The trend is partly propelled by concerns of declining standards in public education institutions. Rising demand against flat infrastructure growth and bureaucratic bungles have pressured many public education institutions facilitating an exodus into public education amongst the economically affluent groups.
The exodus started in the primary and secondary education sector which saw explosion of private schooling. Private education is becoming big business as shown in the cases of JSE listed companies like Curro and AdvTech. Many more are emerging at great speed.
The IAS said in a statement its vision is to have the top postgraduate education for aspiring Chartered Accountants programme in South Africa. It plans to grow beyond current Johannesburg base to have representation in key centers across the country. And it doesn’t stop there, The IAS also aims to introduce other professional programmes in law and actuarial science.
The IAS head Gary Swartzstatement said the institute sets out to introduce a private alternative within the tertiary sector, similar to private and government schooling. “Being private allows us to do everything we always wanted to do without being blocked by bureaucracy and budget constraints. There is a revolution in education with new technologies and teaching philosophies changing the landscape dramatically, one needs to be responsive and nimble to move with the revolution.”
The statement added that “The introduction of the IAS represents yet another creative disruptor challenging the status quo, driving innovation and change. While the Universities grapple with the concept of free education, the IAS is radically altering the environment.”
One view celebrates this movement as innovation and diversification. The other view is that the movement is a short sighted, selfish, elitist program.