11 January 2019

South Africa: Forget the Poverty Trap - It's the Wealth Trap We Need to Break

analysis

A bold new approach to university admissions could be a game-changer.

A seriously under-estimated, massive logistical process is happening right now at the 26 universities across the country.

The matric results (NSC & IEB) are only just out and yet, within three weeks, more than 200,000 students with university exemptions must be filtered, sorted, confirmed and starting studies in late January.

Unisa will vacuum up the majority of the students but around 75,000 first-years will somehow be chosen for one of the 11 "traditional varsities" that are, rightly or wrongly, at the top of the status tree.

How those kids are selected, and funded, is one of the great debates of our age - right across the world. University used to represent an elite process for the very few - most of the population went nowhere near tertiary education unless it was narrowly vocational - but, in the last 50 years, schooling beyond school has expanded to the point where it is now close to a basic educational right.

The funding debate has been hashed over extensively in recent times but the selection process remains relatively unexamined.

Simplistic notions like "the top exam students" are being challenged everywhere and never...

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