The Maharishi Institute

Ensure access to quality higher education is accessible for young adults disadvantaged by historical inequities in living and education standards.

Freedom for Equality

Helping every student reach their potential, regardless of financial circumstances

South Africa has one of the most unequal education systems in the world – with the gap in attainment between the top 20% of schools and the rest, wider than in almost every other country. The system is divided by wealth and in many cases race; a legacy of the Bantu Education Act of 1952, which set out to ensure white students received a better education than black students.

One of Nelson Mandela’s first public policies after becoming president was to expand access to schooling – but the quality of education for the majority of South Africans, and in particular for poor South Africans remains low. Despite comparatively high investment in education by the government - 6.4% GDP - overall performance is lower than many poorer countries including Zimbabwe and Kenya. 47.9% of university students do not complete their degrees and black students have the highest dropout rate, 1.5 times higher than white students. This means only 5% of young black South Africans successfully complete university.

The Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg works to tackle this inequality head on. In 2007 it began its journey to address this issue in South Africa. The Institute aimed to increase access to higher education and focused on applied skills that would help students enter the workforce in areas such as management, business and IT. Now the Maharishi Institute provides students financial access to qualifications through partner institutions via distance learning. They support the distance learning experience through self-development programmes, high quality learning facilities and career support services. They crucially provide work experience, which is invaluable for young people looking to enter the job market.

Since its beginnings in 2000, across all their programmes, Maharishi Institute have assisted 17, 580 unemployed youth to access higher education and quality employment. Many are now business leaders. Their graduate employment rate is over 95%. Graduates are closely tracked, and earn over R1.050 billion combined salaries per annum (close to $100million per annum) and are estimated to earn R28.5 billion ($2.5 billion) over their working careers. 

By encouraging students to reach their full potential, Maharishi Institute works to not only improve skills and knowledge, but also confidence and self-worth. Their focus is on student’s wellbeing, creates a low-stress learning environment, while still achieving incredible academic results. Believing every student has potential, if only they had the opportunity to reach it, Maharishi Institute works to help underprivileged young people achieve their dreams, regardless of their financial circumstances.

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