THE STATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN SOUTH AFRICA AND THE TRANSFORMATION AGENDA

What is the transformation agenda of higher learning education in the so called South Africa? That is question that confronts this country. In early nineties the song that was sang by student leaders, academics, political parties and all constituencies from disadvantaged community on transformation, was that there should be greater access to institution linked to removal of academic exclusion, free education for primary degrees or Diplomas, removal of financial exclusion, curriculum review, greater excess to educational facilities and an end of discrimination in any form including racial, religious and gender.

There was a legitimate expectation that when a democratic government takes over, the legislative framework and bureaucratic environment will be changed to ensure that these principles are encourage and enforced. The evidence is that the same issues are still part of today’s student struggles in University of Limpopo, University of Pretoria, University of Venda, Tshwane University of Technology and University of KwaZulu-Natal, just to name high profile cases.

The access for educational resources is a mirage to most African students that are admitted in institutions. The computer labs are limited and assumption of educators is that all students have a computer with Internet excess in the manner in which assignments and other assessment instruments have to be presented. Accommodation and catering is being privatised or profit is required to create environment of stress among African students which then leads to poor academic performance. The education system is very quick on academic exclusion without looking into environmental factors that contribute to poor performance. There is even a new fancy term called “academic deserving” linked to finance and admission.

The education system remains Eurocentric in its methods and methodology of gathering, classification, analysis, application and ownership of knowledge. There is neither political will nor intellectual resolve to Africanise the context and content of our education. The well established African epistemology and pedagogy remain buried in Arabic and European dungeons. There is no attempt to include indigenous knowledge systems into the main stream of education regardless that these are practiced and influence the psyche of majority of the people in the country.

African people must with immediate effect look at education as an investment rather than a cost operation. The cost-benefits analysis and other economic model used to analyse education spending should be radically revised. Educational revolution must results in greater access to all African people, content reflective of African context and change philosophy of education.

By Sbusiso Xaba

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3 thoughts on “THE STATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN SOUTH AFRICA AND THE TRANSFORMATION AGENDA

  1. I am excited, the thing captures the stark reality of quisling hypocrisy where changing the internal phrase is equated with a change of the historical-economic reality.
    This is an great contribution to Afrikanist analysis. Keep expanding & deepening the piece. So much to say in so little a space forces you to assume what needs to be explained. So far each sentence is a summary of many historical-economic definitions that need to be revealed and explained. A friend of the article and not its critic,e.g., just assume ‘the abstract notion of race’, and in it, you find ‘concrete classes’ all over. The notions of race or class are complements and not mutually exclusive; assume race and you are dealing with classes, assume class and you analyze the racial makeup of each class. Just provoking you to move forward.

  2. In essence the lack of a broader societal development and transformation targets is manifested by the state of higher education in this country. As matter of fact Cde Sbu you capture the negative picture of higher education in this country. The primary solution is for the ruling party to deviate from its neo-liberal economic agenda and make funding available for students from poor background who happen to be black and remove this tag of NSFAS on them which is the debt they have to pay just because they desire knowledge. Secondly, the funding formula must change dramatically and Black institutions be given much more money than apartheid “mighty built” institutions. There is also a need for institutions to be monitored and are made to be more accountable and efficient in the manner they utilize funds. The are some institutions that continue to use their constitutional guaranteed academic freedom and institutional autonomy to frustrate any space of engagement about institutional transformation and the ANC government continues to dance to this tune.

  3. looking at the content of higher education and compare it with the context in which it is delivered from, it forces us to not only say that the current leadership in the department of education is failing but rather say the country has not realy looked at the fact of having higher education as a pontential teacher it pains me to notice that we are lectured about all the western psychology and philosophy but not the african and not an inclusion on indeginous knowlegde, currenlty at high schools we get national papers in AFRIKAANS AND ENGLISH BUT OH! NO NOT THE NGUNI LANGUAGES kanti elilizwe lelobani< noticably so we have been vex with this westernisation that we forget that as south africa our development has to start from the ground up, not to regard us a country with sound management but rather with sound capabilities and a need to rectify our way of managing.

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