South Africa: Open Letter to University Vice-Chancellors - Adjust the Entrance Goalposts to Allow for Covid-19

opinion

My appeal is for universities to give students access not dependent entirely on the 2020 matric results - that would be unfair. Those results are not likely to be an accurate reflection of student ability and effort. The pandemic has removed the prospects of that for many poor and working-class students in the system.

Dear university vice-chancellors,

It is commonly accepted that the school-leaver certificate determines qualification; it determines access to university and it additionally determines access to competitive programmes offered by the various universities - programmes with limited seats and with lifetime rewards that are sizeable.

Education is supposed to be the great equaliser; it is meant to be a fair chance at access to upward mobility through individual effort, talent and creativity. Ideally, the school-leaving exams should be carried out on an even playing field, but this is South Africa and the playing field hasn't been even since the policy of Bantu education was introduced in 1953.

In addition to the already unequal playing field, it is clear that this year in particular escalated the problems and accentuated the education gap. While the closure of schools was necessary, especially during the Covid-19 surge, we cannot ignore...

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