IT’S WORRYING TO ME that your “Focus on tertiary education” ( Finweek, 31 July 2008) didn’t tell readers what the actual situation and options in tertiary education are. Postsecondary education is worth the effort and is certainly very important; but it’s equally important for readers to be told that there’s a substantial industry or sector that gives more and even better options than the State institutions referred to. The growing need for post-secondary training is also addressed by private organisations.
Admission requirements and restrictions on public institutions regarding the number of students who can register means there are students who qualify for tertiary studies but have nowhere to go. Such students study successfully at private providers.
Private higher education in SA is developing strongly, in line with international trends in the tertiary sector. Post-secondary statistics – especially in developing countries – show the private higher education sector is growing faster than the State sector.
Though student numbers aren’t yet as great as in the 23 public institutions, private higher education makes a significant contribution to SA’s economic and labour sectors. Private institutions have throughput figures averaging 80% to 90%, while successful student placements in the labour sector range from 70% to 100%.
It’s therefore also worrying to us that only a single foreign private institution in SA is referred to – that’s Monash – as if it’s the only contribution made by the private sector to higher education. SA has its own original private institutions that can be compared with the best in the world. We’d welcome it if you produced a supplement on the private sector in TE.