The #FeesMustFall disruptions continue for those affected, but is the wider debate finally getting traction? It seems so.
On the actual issues Jameel Abdulla writes on The Daily Vox that funding education is an “open question” while Gauteng student, Martin van Staden, opposes the view -pointing out the matter is in fact around responsible vs irresponsible economics when one drills down to detail.
“Free Education increases Inequality”
Dr. Steve Friedman of the Centre for the Study of Democracy explains free education has increased inequality in the case of Brazil where it is in force.
“Radicals are meant to believe that resources should be redistributed from those who have to those who are forced to go without. But free tertiary education, by enabling those who can afford much more to contribute nothing, would redistribute upwards, not downwards,” he noted in a recent column.
“Brazil’s experience is a warning — there, free higher education increases inequality. Brazil affords it by limiting places in the best public universities. Since the affluent can afford much better schooling, their children get the best marks and are admitted at the expense of the poor. This widens inequality in each generation as those with money receive, free, the better university places, which keeps them ahead,” Friedman added.
Meanwhile Van Staden argues that while the state has been seen as the answer to higher education through more government, the state has in fact been the cause of the problem in the first place.
“At least the system must be deregulated to such an extent as to allow the private sector to compete with public universities (on price). At the moment this is impossible,” he argues.
In the primary and high school areas non-governmental alternatives to education have arisen with the Centre for Economic Development considering a host of successful outcomes to date.
In current debate one area of agreement has been the need to reprioritize government funds from current areas of wasteful expenditure, back into higher education. It seems few agree this is the only solution though and the bigger questions around education going forward will remain.
Should the government deregulate requirements to start higher education institutions, giving entrepreneurs an opportunity to enter the higher education sector? Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org