Correcting the mess of Tertiary Education in South Africa – Book Excerpt

Correcting the mess of Tertiary Education in South Africa

Let us immediately, for convenience sake deal with the question of two agencies who have always had the responsibility of assisting worthy students in this way. They are the National Skills Fund and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. Surely, they can be amalgamated into one body, catering for the needs of those worthy individuals. Their skills however need upgrading to the same level of any bank or money lending organisation, particularly as there systems of control appear sadly lacking. This means that funds are not being recollected from borrowers who have qualified in their chosen field, which would then be used to help others, which is patently unfair! Together they employ around 500 people whose only job is receiving, vetting, and paying (possibly recovering some) funds, to assist those without the means to obtain Tertiary Education. What do 500 do with their time? (Please note that I doubt the veracity of some of the figures supplied to me in this, and other instances. For, if correct, their employees are some of the lowest paid bureaucrats.)

The reader surely cannot have missed the repetitiveness of the word “worthy” in the preceding paragraphs. There is no way that I can overemphasise two factors. As I have said before, the right of equal opportunity does not extend literally to the question of differing intelligence levels. Therefore, any individual must of necessity qualify in terms of proven ability, and for that matter general character, to be entitled to advance into the field of Tertiary education. Any argument to the contrary, as repeatedly voiced by politicians, student demonstrators, and others, is not worthy of further discussion.

All Tertiary education facilities, whatever the institution, must not be allowed to be challenged by student bodies, such as Student Representative Councils, who are Advisory Bodies, which must be consulted and heard by the Institution’s Management Authority/Council, but also be bound by their final decision.

Anybody stupid enough to wish to argue with the above, only has to look at the recent events referred to, to realise what a waste of time, money, and delayed learning, was generated. In fact, relevant to Law and Order, Government has a bounden duty to ensure that such events are not allowed to happen again!

I will not deal with individual TVETs and Universities, as they are semi-independent Institutions, but only with the other actual Agencies. However, surely the responsibilities of the Councils for the Universities of South Africa, and for Higher Education, have parallel and overlapping responsibilities. These bodies should merge as one, even if that for University Education is the more complex.

Finally, I wish to underline the criticism that has been levied at this Department in respect of the abnormal control exercised by their Union over the thousands of teachers. When looking at the annual report on the activities of the Education Labour Relations Council, which is at the same time effectively the Bargaining Council, I must ask the same question as Andrew Kenny, that is “As the teachers are required to attend so many meetings and other gatherings so often, do they have time to teach?”

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