Review of Physics Training in SA


The project leading to the creation of the report arose because the heads of Physics Departments of South African Universities identified a crisis in the education pipeline. We felt starting with a Benchmarking process and a Review leading to Recommendations would be an appropriate first step where we can be effective. The SAIP partnered with the Council on Higher Education (CHE) to conduct the Review. Our challenge is now to implement as many of the Recommendations as we can. The current growth phase in Physics in South Africa began a decade ago with a similar review of the Research environment. We have every expectation that we will ultimately see a similar improvement in the capacity development issues following this review.

Prof Simon Connell, the immediate Past-President of SAIP “In South Africa, although we are developing country, the last decade has seen dramatic improvements in the Science System. Specifically, there is an unprecedented improvement in the health of the discipline of physics which is on a new growth trajectory. The award of the SKA site decision is just one aspect of this positive trend. We see increased scholarly output, very much improved access to local and international large scale research infrastructure and the modernization of local research laboratories and other research infrastructure. Linkages within South Africa and globally between academics are well established, and there is a particularly good rapport with the Department of Science and Technology. The main threat to the sustainability of the positive trend is education pipeline. This is now the most crucial point to be addressed. Review of Undergraduate Physics Education in Public Higher Education Institutions is one of the components of a new plan from within our discipline to be part of the solution.”



Following a request from a meeting of physics heads of departments held in July 2008, the SAIP council begun working on the project “Review of Physics Training in South Africa”. In the process of identifying stakeholders and partners to the “Review of Physics Project”, the SAIP indentified the Council on Higher Education (CHE) as a critical partner.
The mandate of CHE includes the following
· To promote quality assurance in higher education
· To audit the quality assurance mechanisms of institutions of higher education
· To accredit programmes of higher education
· To generate and set standards for all higher education qualifications

  • SAIP Project Chairperson: Prof Edmund Zingu
  • CHE Project Leader: Prof Rehana Valley


Strategy on Improving Physics Training in South Africa

The above process has resulted in the developement of a strategy for iimproving physics training in South Africa.

Download the Strategy on Improving Physics Training in South Africa





Overview: Women in Physics in South Africa (WiPiSA)

WiPISA WebPage

We are very please to announce that the new website for Women in Physics in South Africa (WiPiSA) is up and running. Please click on and browse through the website





Download the form here

WiPiSA Call for Proposals 2015

Download the call here

WiPiSA 2007 Annual Report

Download the WiPiSA 2007 Annual Report here.

SA Women in Science Awards

Details of the categories and nomination forms are available from here.

Launch Conference: South African Women in Physics Program (SAWIPP)

In celebrating the World Year of Physics, The Department of Science and Technology, The South African Institute of Physics and the University of Pretoria undertakes to Launch Women in Physics in South Africa (WIPSA) to address the under-representation of Women in Physics in all areas of Physics. The Launch conference was held at the Blue-Waters Hotel, Durban on the 3rd and 4th November 2005.


Second Conference on Women in Physics

The Second International Conference on Women in Physics was held in Brazil in May 2005. South Africa was represented by Mrs. N. Kgabi (North-West U.) and Mrs. M. Diale (U. Pretoria).

South Africa's Paper

Press Release

The proceedings of the Second IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics is available online.

Third World Organisation for Women in Science

Postgraduate Training Fellowships for Women Scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDC) at Centres of Excellence in the South DEADLINE: 30 MAY Each year

TWOWS programme for Postgraduate Fellowships is available for applicants from Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), for Ph.D. study programmes in the natural sciences, in developing countries. Applications will be considered in the following areas of the natural sciences: agriculture; biology; chemistry; engineering & technology sciences; earth & environmental resources; mathematics; medicine; physics; multidisciplinary sciences.

The deadline for submitted applications is 30 MAY (each year).

Detailed information and application forms can be found at the TWOWS website at:

First Conference on Women in Physics

The First International Conference on Women in Physics has highlighted the problems experienced by women in physics, internationally.

This section of the South African Institute of Phyisics website is the first step to assisting women in physics in their studies and careers.

For the moment, the main component of this section will be the Report on the Conference compiled by the South African team however this will be expanded as information comes in. Read the report for an idea of what can be added to this section.

Please email the Secretary (email: Secretary{at}saip{dot}org{dot}za) with any information that you feel can benefit women (and men!) in physics.

1 February 2006

Shaping the Future of Physics in South Africa

Implementation Strategy

An implementation strategy and cost estimate for each of the recommendations in the report "Shaping the Future of Physics in South Africa" was submitted to the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation on 16 August 2005.

We are awaiting the response of these institutions.

The document is available here.

Harm Moraal

President (29 August 2005)

Report by International Panel

The report by the International Panel is now available for download below.

Comments on the report should reach the SAIP Secretary (secretary{at}saip{dot}org{dot}za) before Thursday, 28 April 2004.

If you have problems with downloading any of the files below, please contact the secretary to have the files emailed to you.

Download entire report as zipped PDF file (1.237MB)

Download the updated Executive Summary(259kB)

Download the detailed Recommendations (Chapter 5 of Report) as PDF file (56kB)

Download Final Survey Report (719kB)


Executive Summary of Report

The International Panel of "Shaping the Future of Physics in South Africa" presented a summary of their report at a report-back session held:


Date: Friday, 19 March 2004

Time: 14:00 - 16:00

Venue: Auditorium, NRF Building, Meiring Naude Road, Brummeria

The report-back session was open to all members of the physics community and members of the public with an interest in physics.

The executive summary of the report as well as slides used in the presentation are now available.

Background to Process

The background to Shaping the Future of Physics in South Africa has been sketched by SAIP President Dr Patricia Whitelock in SAIP Newsletter no 18 of April 2002. Regional meetings were held (details below).

The "Draft Terms of Reference" document (available here) will be central to further discussions. The "Draft Terms of Reference for the Management and Policy Committee, Technical Committee and Strategic Repositioning Panel" can be found here.

Regional Meetings

Western Cape: The regional meeting, chaired by Dr Patricia Whitelock (SAAO, SAIP President), was held at iThemba Labs (formerly NAC) on Thursday 27 June 2002 at 14:00. The meeting was attended by 80 people.

Eastern Cape: The regional meeting, chaired by Prof. Japie Engelbrecht (UPE) was held at the Kraal (UPE) on 30 August 2002. The meeting was attended by 40 people.

Gauteng: The regional meeting, chaired by Prof. Johan Malherbe (UP) was held at the NRF on 17 September 2002. The meeting was attended by 50 people.

Kwa-Zulu Natal: The regional meeting, chaired by Prof. Krish Bharuth-Ram (UND) was held at the Biology Seminar Room (UND) 11 November 2002. The meeting was attended by 32 people.

Free State: No regional meeting was held. Comments were received from the Department of Physics, UFS.

Please click here for Minutes of Regional Meeting: Eastern Cape
Please click here for Minutes of Regional Meeting: Gauteng
Please click here for Minutes of Regional Meeting: KwaZulu-Natal
Please click here for Minutes of Regional Meeting: Western Cape

Comments and Discussions

A web discussion forum has been set-up and you are invited to join in.

Comments submitted before web discussion forum was set up.

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