High School

What is IEB?

IEB stands for the Independent Examinations Board.

It is an assessment body that is accredited by Umalusi, the South African statutory body responsible for quality assurance for school and adult assessments. The IEB offers external assessment in accordance with legislation and Umalusi directives for schools registered with it at Grade 9 and Grade 12, at which point successful learners are awarded the National Senior Certificate, and for adult learning from ABET Level 1 through to NQF Level 1. The IEB training section, ASSET, provides training in assessment.

It also provides additional assessments that complement teaching and learning in schools at other levels.

The term ‘independent’ was very important at the time of the inception of the organisation. In 1989 the Joint Matriculation Board (JMB) relinquished its examination function. At that time the JMB was the only assessment body in South Africa that offered examinations for non-racial schools. To ensure that South Africa still maintained at least one non-racial assessment body at Grade 12 during the time of apartheid, a number of heads at independent schools founded the IEB to assume the assessment function of the JMB.

At that time, the term ‘independent’ emphasised a very important aspect of the work of the IEB, namely being a beacon of opposition to the establishment of the day. Today, the IEB is a recognised player in the South African education landscape, committed to building a robust system for all learners in our country. The significance of its independence now is to provide an alternate voice on curriculum and assessment matters, to contribute positively to debate on educational issues and to provide an approach that ensures that independent schools are accommodated with respect to their needs and desires within the South African education framework, for the greater good of our country. The IEB sees itself as a partner in our country’s education system, supporting that which needs to be supported with whatever we have to contribute, and questioning that which needs to be questioned. As our history would suggest, the IEB supports democratic principles and the rational voice in education.

It is important to note that the IEB is a Section 21 company that has been approved as a public benefit organisation in terms of the Income Tax Act. Therefore it has been registered by the Department of Social Development as a non-profit organisation. Every product and service rendered must be self-sufficient and no subsidy is received from the government. Even its directors are not paid a fee to serve the organisation.

The Independent Examinations Board or IEB is a South African independent assessment agency which offers examinations for various client schools. It is most prominent in setting the examinations for the school-leaving National Senior Certificate, or NSC, which replaced the Senior Certificate and Further Education and Training Certificate. See High school: South Africa;Matriculation
in South Africa


The IEB exams are considered by many educators, parents, students and universities, both within South Africa
and abroad, as a more challenging and comprehensive assessment than the state NSC. Students with excellent IEB results have been accepted to Ivy League and Oxbridge institutions without setting further requirements such as A-levels. (SATs (or ACTs) are required for all major US universities – the IEB NSC does not exempt students from this requirement.)