23 June 2017

Higher education and inequality in South Africa

Professor Rajani Naidoo spoke live on TRT World’s Insight programme about the challenges facing higher education in South Africa.

Professor Naidoo says that while there have been transformations in South Africa’s higher education system since apartheid, issues affecting education today include large numbers of students coupled with lack of resources and a highly unequal society.

Recalling her own experience as a student in South Africa at a time when universities were racially segregated, she argues that university access has changed from being dictated by race to dictated by economic wealth, with poor families going to poorly resourced schools.

She argues that ‘something has to happen both at the school level and at the university level. Universities need to test much more for potential rather than just looking at merit in the usual way’.

Professor Naidoo highlights inequality, fees (she points out that these are unregulated in South Africa) and lack of governmental support as being causes of recent student protests. She argues that the protests did not reflect a lack of belief in, or disillusionment with, higher education itself, but rather a desire for a fairer system for future generations and a belief that ‘universities are for the public good’.

Watch the full interview: