Australia’s biggest university, Monash, is pulling out of South Africa after 18 years

The Monash campus in Johannesburg. [Source: Google Images] The Monash campus in Johannesburg. [Source: Google Images]

After 18 years, Australia's Monash University will be pulling out of South Africa, selling out to JSE-listed education group Advtech in a R340 million deal.

Monash South Africa was registered in 2000, and markets itself as a local provider of degrees with international brand recognition. Its Johannesburg campus has a capacity of 6,500 students and features a number of student residences, popular among students from other African countries.

But the Monash name will disappear from that campus, its soon-to-be new owners say.

"We may use 'MSA' as the brand, that's one of the options, or there may be synergies with some of our existing brands," says Felicity Coughlan, the group academic director of Advtech, on the future name of the institution.

Advtech on Tuesday said it would pay R343 million for Monash South Africa, plus whatever cash on hand and working capital adjustments on the effective date of the acquisition.

That is very close to the R330 million net asset value Monash SA reported at the end of 2017.

Monash had been looking for a partner to take over the South African institution for some time, Coughlan says, and Advtech's track record gave Monash comfort that existing students would be well catered for.

Monash is Australia's biggest university. It also has a campus in Malaysia, and centres in India, China, and Italy.

Advtech is keen to roll out some of the registered Monash qualifications at its other tertiary institutions, which include Vega, Rosebank College, and Varsity College. Monash this year launched the first Bachelor of Engineering programme at a private institution reviewed by the Engineering Council of South Africa, and its MBA and public health qualifications are a good fit for the company, says Coughlan.

Advtech current has some 30,000 tertiary students enrolled at its institutions, most of them on degree tracks.

Advtech recently bought Oxbridge Academy and The Private Hotel School. Its fellow listed tertiary education group Stadio plans to create a "multiversity" for some 100,000 students in South Africa, and is looking to set up medical and engineering schools in the next three years.


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