Our parents constantly ask about the issue of the Department of National Education’s NSC (National Senior Certificate) versus IEB (Independent Examinations Board). As a school, we revisit this topic regularly to assess what we think is best for Herzlia and we share some information below for the year ahead.

There are currently only two South African examinations available to choose from when our pupils write matric: (1) the DBE [NSC] examination and (2) the IEB examination. 

Some reasons why we have chosen to remain with the National Department of Basic Education [DBE]

  • While we review this decision every year, we believe there are good reasons to be part of the DBE and at present we remain committed to the DBE for our Matric NSC exit examination along with various other top Independent Schools such as Bishops, Springfield and Parklands.
  • Our current academic programme manifests not only in our pupils’ excellent Matric results, but also in their successful acceptance to the universities of their choice – locally and internationally The IEB is based on the same core CAPS curriculum as the DBE. The same curriculum is taught and Umalusi accredits both the IEB exam and the DBE exam equally. In our experience, the DBE NSC results are between 5 and 10% higher than IEB. This is significant for application to Universities where no differentiation is made between IEB and DBE. Universities, both locally and internationally, do not calculate admission points differently based on which exam pupils write. Our responsibility is to make sure we give our pupils the best chance of getting into the courses of their choice and we think that the NSC exam does that best for them.
  • Our exit examination certainly does not define how we teach. We have numerous other academic enrichment and extension offerings and foci that make up our educational offering. Herzlia, provides an exceptional offering that encourages our students to be intellectually curious, to work independently, and to be critical and creative thinkers.
  • We offer IEB Further Studies Programmes in Maths and English for pupils from Grade 9 to Matric who benefit from the academic extension and we have a cutting edge IT Department and Innovation Centre which provides an assortment of advanced ESTEAM programmes for our pupils. Further classroom-based enrichment is provided by all subject departments.
  • Feedback is that our students thrive in tertiary institutions based on their years at Herzlia.
  • We have several teachers who are involved with marking and standard setting of the DBE exit examination. They give meaningful input and gain valuable insights into processes which positively influence the preparation of our students. They are also part of the local Clusters which meet regularly to compare teaching methodologies and reflect on Matric examinations.
  • In addition, our teachers contribute to the Provincial and National Education departments by sharing resources and expertise. In this way, we embrace our responsibility to address educational inequality in our country. This speaks to our Menschlichkeit pillar in our awareness and moral responsibility to our country. It must be said that we are fortunate to be part of the Western Cape Education Department, which is known for its high standards. We have no complaints around the administration of the WCED examinations. We are fortunate to have, in the Peninsula, a large group of excellent DBE schools, who place the same emphasis on academics as we do at Herzlia. This allows for strong collaboration around good educational practice.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) 

  • This has also been discussed periodically.
  • Undoubtedly, they provide an exceptional offering that also encourages their students to be intellectually curious, to work independently, and to be critical and creative thinkers.
  • Unfortunately, there is no support structure for the IB in Southern Africa and the associated Euro costs are prohibitive, with staff training outside the country. 
  • A further challenge is the uncertainty of how to combine the demanding IB Academic Programme and the all rounded education expected at top South African schools.  

At Herzlia, we place emphasis on internal standards and practices which exceed the expectations of the external examination. We extend pupils beyond the curriculum in all spheres. We enrich teaching and learning with our Innovation Centre, our Project-based Learning programme, as well as external programmes such as Tournament of Minds and an array of Olympiads and other national competitions.

Please do not hesitate to contact for further queries or comments.

M Helfrich| L Palte

UHS Curriculum Head High School | Academic Head



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Tax benefits

Tax Benefits of Donating to The Herzlia Foundation Trust

United Herzlia Schools is the sole beneficiary of The Herzlia Foundation Trust PBO No. 930038539 South Africa Donors are eligible for a Section 18 A tax certificate in respect of donation to the Foundation (depending on the terms of the donation within our discretion). Please contact if you require assistance.

United Kingdom Donors can apply for a GiftAid form if they donate through EuroChai SA. Please contact Ralph Frank if you require further assistance.

United States of America Donors can receive tax benefit if they donate via the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. Please ensure designation of funds is “Friends of Herzlia”.

Canada Donors can receive tax benefits if they donate through UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. Please ensure allocation of funds is written “The Herzlia Foundation Trust” on your donation & tribute form. Please contact Eyal Golan if you require further assistance.

Australia Donors can receive tax benefits if they donate through Chai Charitable Foundation.