Call for people s education
FREE education for all!” is the rallying cry for many students and commentators out there.
Some use the Freedom Charter as their basis for the call while others use principles such as equality, dignity and access to higher education for all.
All these calls are noble, generally, but they need to move further and be rooted in reality. Put differently, they must be based on a concrete analysis of the conditions in South Africa, and not mere wishes.
While the Freedom Charter is an important document, a deeper analysis shows that it not only called for access to higher education and training but people’s education for people’s power. As such, if the “education for all” call is not based on the principle of people ’ s education for people’s power it will fizzle out and die.
Sadly, this year, like last year, it can be expected that the students’ call will veer off “Fees Must Fall” to “Blade Must Fall.” This is one of the symptoms of a call that was never rooted in concrete analysis of conditions and had no intention to call for people’s education in the first place.
To reverse the crisis of inequality, it is unwise to call for free education for all at this stage. This can only help to widen the inequality gap always complained about. There must necessarily be bias in terms of application of the principle. Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande correctly took the decision to concentrate more on those who cannot afford to pay.
Rich people need to pay. Strategies to determine who is able to afford and who is not can be put in place, but the principle is correct.
Tembisile Magkatho, by e-mail
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