I cannot even try to join the discussion on higher education and #feesmustfall. It is moving too fast and there are some proper experts out there. I do want to share some links:
- Johan and Co-Pierre explained the opportunity cost of fees falling best in Business Day last year: Universities face an impossible trinity: appoint more black scholars, reduce student fees, or cut spending on outsourcing and maintenance of facilities. They argue that the bursary system should be reformed with targeted support of the students that need it.
- In a Medium post Justin Goro argued for corporate support and a form of securitisation of future earnings.
I have wondered why no-one has mentioned the inequity of using more of the tax payer’s money to fund university students. Arguments for more public finding ignore the fact that higher education has some substantial private benefits (The Economist has U.S. data on the ‘value’ of university). Although there are poor students, they are not “the poor”.
We all know that education in South Africa faces many significant challenges (and if you want to learn more about it, follow Nic and read his blog), but it seems to me that giving spending more money on the 15 students that somehow had the resources to qualify to go to university, will only fuel further inequality. Where are the other 75 protesting?
Finally, you should read Shaun Stanley’s “Devil’s advocacy for decolonised curricula” in the M&G Thought Leader. He argues that the way that the curricula is taught can disadvantage particular students. Food for thought.