What is the difference between IEB and NSC?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an IEB and NSC qualification? Read more about everything that you need to know about these courses.

The biggest difference between IEB and NSC is that IEB prepares students for a life abroad. There is no better choice between these two qualifications. It depends on what your needs are and what you are capable of. Read further to learn more about the differences between an NSC and IEB.


What Is The IEB?

The Independent Examinations Board (IEB) is a private assessment board which offers examination services to clients or private schools. The IEB claims that they can better prepare students for further studies, which is considered a difficult route to study.

What Is The IEB Curriculum?

This curriculum focuses on teaching students additional problem-solving skills other than what they would learn while studying for a National Senior Certificate (NSC)

These skills will then be tested in the IEB Matric examination. The students will still follow the CAPS curriculum the same as the NSC, but the IEB curriculum prepares students for challenging questions in the IEB exams.

What Is The CAPS Curriculum?

The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) is a curriculum which focuses on teaching students skills and knowledge that are deemed meaningful to use in their lives.

The information has been taught in the local contexts of South Africa for many years and still continues today. Here are some important aspects of the CAPS curriculum:

  • One CAPS document is provided to each subject on how it should be taught
  • CAPS is content-based and descriptive
  • The ‘Foundations for learning’ principles are expressed in this curriculum
  • A First Additional Language and English is taught from Grade 1
  • There are only six intermediate phase subjects
  • Arts and Culture is replaced by Creative Arts in the Senior Phase
  • In Grade 7 the subject of Economic and Management is introduced
  • Annual assessments are done from Grade 1 to 9 and critical assessments from Grade 10 to 12

What Is The IEB Equivalent To?

It is equivalent to the UK AS-Levels.

It is however still a Proudly South African qualification and still follows a more complicated form of the CAPS curriculum. The Advance English Programme and Advance Mathematics Programme are equivalent to the UK A-Levels. 

The IEB also claims that there are many students that have been accepted into elite Universities in the world because they have completed their IEB schooling.

What Is An NSC?

NSC stands for National Senior Certificate. This is an achievement that you achieve after you have successfully completed your Matric year.

What Is The NSC Curriculum?

The National Senior Certificate follows the CAPS curriculum. Unlike the IEB, this form of the curriculum is not as challenging and as in-depth. Because students mostly prefer to complete the National Senior Certificate, this is the curriculum that is used more generally than the curriculum of the IEB.

What Are The Requirements For NSC?

There are certain requirements you need to meet before obtaining your National Senior Certificate. These are:

Home language

40% or above

Two other subjects

40% or above

Four other subjects

30% or above

One subject 

Fail (Can also be your Home language, but then you will need to get 30% or more for all the other 6 subjects)

Average for all subjects

33⅓% or higher

These are the minimum requirements to pass your Matric and obtain your NSC. However, if you want to further your studies after Matric you will need to meet higher requirements to be able to qualify for a:

What Is The Purpose Of An NSC?

The National Senior Certificate or NSC is also what is used to apply for post-Matric activities such as:

  • Looking for job opportunities
  • Gain University entrance
  • Applying to a College
  • Applying for internships

Is An IEB And NSC Internationally Recognised?

Yes, when you receive a Matric Certificate, through IEB or High School, you will gain international recognition.

Various students who have completed their studies have gone to international Universities, such as in the United Kingdom or the United States. 

Furthering your Studies

When you obtain your NSC Matric Certificate or IEB Matric Certificate, and you meet the entry requirements for a University or College, you can apply to further your studies. Both are registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Courses With A Matric Certificate

What To Do If I Do Not Have A Matric Certificate?

You can still study further without a Matric Certificate if you wish to do so, but if you first want to obtain your Matric Certificate before furthering your studies or looking for job opportunities, here are some courses you can take at Matric College to help achieve your future career goals.

Courses Without A Matric Certificate

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If you want to continue your studies without a Matric Certificate. Consider taking the ICB Courses offered at Matric College. There is a wide variety of ICB courses to choose from and will immediately make you work-ready after completing your qualification. Here is the list of courses:

What are you interested in?

Courses offered

Entry Requirements

If you are interested in working in an office and learning all the skills and knowledge necessary to keep your office running smoothly, consider these Office Administration Courses

  1. Office Administration: ICB National Certificate
  2. Office Administration: ICB Higher Certificate
  3. Office Administration: ICB National Diploma
  1. Be 16 years old or older 
  2. Read, write and understand English
  3. Distance learning
  4. Matric certificate or Matric equivalent certificate
  5. Completed – Office Administration: ICB National Certificate
  6. Completed – Office Administration: ICB Higher Certificate

If you are interested in managing a business and improving your skills and knowledge about owning a business, consider these Business Management Courses

  1. Small Business Financial Management: ICB National Certificate
  2. Office Administration – Business Management: ICB Higher Certificate
  3. Financial Accounting – Business Management: ICB National Diploma
  1. Grade 11 or completed ICB Bridging Course (Junior Bookkeeping: ICB National Certificate)
  2. Be 16 years old or older 
  3. Read, write and understand English
  4. Distance learning
  5. Completed – Small Business Financial Management: ICB National Certificate
  6. Completed – Office Administration – Business Management: ICB Higher Certificate

If you are interested in becoming a financial professional and topics such as financial accounting and bookkeeping, you should consider these Accounting Courses

  1. Bookkeeping: ICB National Certificate
  2. Bookkeeping: ICB FET Certificate
  3. Technical Financial Accounting: ICB National Diploma
  4. Certified Financial Accounting: ICB National Diploma
  1. Grade 10 or Grade 10 Equivalent Certificate
  2. Read, write and understand English
  3. Distance learning
  4. Completed – ICB Bookkeeping National Certificate
  5. Completed – ICB Bookkeeping National Certificate and ICB Bookkeeping FET Certificate
  6. Completed – Technical Financial Accounting: ICB National Diploma

If you do not want to study an ICB Course, you can apply for our Short Courses.  You can also study these courses without a Matric Certificate.

How Should I Decide Between IEB And NSC?

It depends on your personal choice. If you want to study abroad after completing your qualification, it would be best to study an IEB

If you want to start looking for a job or study at an institution in South Africa, an NSC would be a fine choice to make for your future career goals. Either way, you will still complete your Matric Certificate and be a step further to start a great career.

Author: Esmari Pool
Editor: Sive Ncanywa
Date: August 10, 2022