Stampede at university highlights South Africa's education shortage
A late application period at the University of Johannesburg led to a stampede that killed one and injured 22. Critics say South Africa doesn't provide as much access to higher education as it promises.
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The Congress of South African Trades Unions (COSATU) reminded the ANC government of its pledges in its own Freedom Charter that “higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit.”Skip to next paragraph
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“COSATU appreciates the excellent work being done by the Minister for Higher Education and Training, Comrade Blade Nzimande, to expand and improve higher and further education, but urges the government to do even more, in line with its policy priorities, to open the doors of learning to all South Africans…”
South Africa is not the only emerging economic power with an access-to-higher-education problem. India has one of the world’s most prestigious university systems in the world. Some applicants place Harvard, Yale, and MIT as their second choice, if they fail to get entry into one of the country’s Indian Institutes of Technology. But each year, Indian students commit suicide if they fail to score high enough on the entrance exams to get in.
In January 2011, when the University of Johannesburg suffered a less violent but still chaotic late-application period, Higher Education Minister Nzimande had joked with a reporter that this was a “wonderful problem” to have, with so many qualified students seeking entry into university.
Today he said that the university would move to a “central application process,” and move away from taking late applications.
“We are considering discontinuing walk-ins at registration time at universities,” Nzimande was quoted by the Mail and Guardian newspaper as saying.