The data collected from the SNAP Survey of Ordinary Schools is collected from all schools each year. The data forms part of the national Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) database used to inform education policymakers and managers in the Department of Basic Education and the Provincial education departments, as well as to provide valuable information to external stakeholders. For example, general school data from the survey is used to compile and maintain the Master List of Schools in the country for education planning purposes.
Kind of Data
Administrative records data [adm]
Unit of Analysis
The units of analysis in the survey are schools in South Africa and their staff and learners
Version 1.3 Edited, anonymised dataset for licensed distribution
Version 1 of this dataset was provided to DataFirst by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on 12 March 2014.
Version 1.1 is this deposit, converted from an Access Database to Stata, and labelled with coding provided by the DBE.
Version 1.2: In the original upload the learner enrolment file was omitted. Version 1.2 has this file included. The files are still labeled 1.1 as no changes to these have been made. The new version number reflects the inclusion of the missing file only.
Version 1.3: In this version variables names have been changed to lower case. The “natemis” variable is now numeric across all data files. As versioning is done at file level as well as dataset level the files are now reversioned to 1.2 except for the Learner Enrolment data file which was changed to version 1.2 in the previous version of the dataset. This file is now version 1.3. Further disclosure control was undertaken on the "General" file and therefore this file is also version 3.1. The dataset is now version 1.3.
School Name and email address, National EMIS number, Province, School level (Pre-Primary, Primary, Secondary, Intermediate or Combined), School Funding Type (Public or Independent), Ownership of school land [State, Church, Mine, Farm, Hospital, Trust, Company, Private Individual, Factory), Educational region, Educational district, and Circuit.
Earlier surveys collected data on Municipality, Nearest Town and Distance to Nearest Town (Km). Earlier surveys also collected data on Language of teaching and learning but from 2011 this data is no longer collected.
Total number of learners by grade and gender
Category (Educators, Practitioners, Professional non-teaching staff, Administrative staff, Support staff, Hostel staff); Nature of appointment (full-time or part-time, permanent, temporary, substitutes), gender and source of remuneration (Schools Governing Body or the State). The distinction between "staff" and "practitioners" in the data files is that 'practitioners' are found almost exclusively in schools with Grade R and are not fully qualified educators, but people who teach in or assist in the Grade R class.
The survey has national coverage
The survey covers all Ordinary Schools in South Africa, both Public and Independent. This survey does not cover Special Schools as the DBE conducts a separate survey of Special Schools annually.
Producers and sponsors
Department of Basic Education. Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) Directorate
Government of South Africa
Government of South Africa
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The Snap Survey for Ordinary Schools is completed by all ordinary schools, both public and independent. School principals are sent both digital (on a cd) and hard copy versions of the survey questionnaire and the educator forms. These are required to be completed on or as close to the survey date as possible. The principal returns the completed survey tools to the respective District or Regional DBE Office.
School officials from the DBE Head Office and District officials periodically visit a random sample of 2 or 3% of schools to establish the accuracy of basic school information provided by schools in the survey.
Data is collected with a survey questionnaire and educator forms. The principle completes the survey questionnaire and each educator (both state paid and other) in each school completes an educator form. Schools record the EMIS number provided by the DBE on the questionnaires and forms for identification.
Data provided on the hard copy questionnaires are captured at provincial level in the data capture process
The data files do not cover the same period. Dates covered for each file are:
Applicable school grades data file (2010-2013)
General school data file (2007-2013)
Learner enrolment data files (1997-2013)
Master list data file (1997-2013)
Remuneration of practitioners data file (2010-2013)
Staff remuneration data file (1997-2013)
The 1997 and 1998 data in this dataset cannot be matched with other years as the learner count is too low.
The 1997 data also does not include data on schools in the Eastern Cape Province and the Limpopo Province
The 1998 data does not include data on schools in the Limpopo Province
The Applicable grades data file does not include unique identifiers.
University of Cape Town
Licensed dataset, accessible under conditions.
South African Department of Basic Education. Education Management Information Systems Directorate. 2013. Snap Survey of Ordinary Schools 1997-2013 [dataset]. Version 1.3. Pretoria: DBE [producer], 2013. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2014
Disclaimer and copyrights
(c) South African Department of Basic Education
DDI Document ID
University of Cape Town
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 3.1 (Adaptation of version 3 from DataFirst: ddi-zaf-datafirst-snaps-1997-2013-v3. Study IDs edited)