Free higher education in South Africa won’t work, expert argues

graduate 3A higher education expert in South Africa has said that the country should not currently be looking at providing free higher education for everyone.

Dr Nico Cloete of the Centre for Higher Education and Training (CHET) said that it would not benefit poor students in that it is not that they cannot afford to attend university but it is often the case that they do not qualify to go.

Therefore, the only students who would benefit from free higher education would be rich and middle class students.

Acknowledging that the idea of free higher education was not wrong per se, it was not right for a developing country, said Dr Cloete. “What we need is affordable higher education for all, with affordable meaning different costs for different groups in society,” he explained.

If any sector of education should be free, Dr Cloete suggested that it should currently be vocational education because these students would end up contributing more to the country’s economic growth.

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