The Higher Education Summit re-opens the debate on differentiation
The original publication is available at http://www.sajs.co.za/
South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe opened the Higher Education Summit in April 2010 by putting his finger on the nub of the problem – the fact that over 65% of 18–24 year olds in South Africa are neither working nor engaged in any form of further education or training. Of those who were in 2008, 875 000 were enrolled at universities and 640 000 at Further Education and Training colleges. At universities, 35% of students drop out of degree studies, 52% out of certificate or diploma studies and 70% out of distance higher education, whereas, only about 29% of those who enrol at colleges eventually pass. In both categories, only a minority complete their qualifications in the prescribed period (for case studies of three universities see http://www.che.ac.za/documents/d000206/). When assessing the significance of these statistics, two things become clear. Firstly, the 70% increase in higher education enrolment since 1994 has been achieved at a price and, secondly, a sensible way must be found to provide some kind of tertiary qualification for additional school leavers.