Two decades into democracy, South Africa has done well in nearly doubling higher education enrollments. But racial inequities remain, growth has been stifled by government reluctance to open up to the private sector, and its “flirting with a welfarist neo-socialist model” of free university for the poor has spawned student demands and protests, says Thandwa Mthembu, vice-chancellor of the Central University of Technology, Free State.
Mthembu was speaking at the triennial conference of the International Association of University Presidents, or IAUP, held in Yokohama, Japan, from June 11-14. His topic was the ‘massification’ of higher education in South Africa.
The country’s Constitution and policies have articulated, among other things, the needs to redress historical inequalities, improve the quality of life of all citizens and free their potential, and increase participation rates through the ‘massification’ of higher education.