On­line study works bet­ter

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

WHY should busi­ness pump bil­lions more into ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion (“Busi­ness must join the de­bate on univer­sity fees”, Week­end Ar­gus, Septem­ber 24) when the so­lu­tion lies else­where? Busi­ness al­ready pays di­rectly or in­di­rectly or hands over the bulk of South Africa’s taxes: com­pany in­come tax, sec­ondary tax on div­i­dends, VAT, per­sonal in­come tax, ex­cise du­ties, cus­tom du­ties, fuel levies, cap­i­tal gains tax, skills de­vel­op­ment levies, and so on. And a new tax is loom­ing on the hori­zon – to fund the ANC’s so­cial­is­tic Na­tional Health Scheme.

First, when one sees all the cor­rup­tion, theft, over-in­voic­ing, ten­der­peneurism, waste, mis­man­age­ment, mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion, crony­ism, nepo­tism, and de­struc­tion around us, why should busi­ness con­trib­ute more which in ef­fect will not only be sub­si­dis­ing this kind of be­hav­iour, but also be an ad­di­tional tax?

Sec­ond, we are in the mid­dle of a few si­mul­ta­ne­ous rev­o­lu­tions equiv­a­lent to the in­dus­trial and rail­road rev­o­lu­tions of the 1800s and 1900s. The in­for­ma­tion rev­o­lu­tion and the re­new­able en­ergy rev­o­lu­tion are hap­pen­ing as we speak. Why should our stu­dents walk or drive to a build­ing for 5, 10, 15 or 20km, some­times through traf­fic jams or crime-in­fested ar­eas, sit down in a class­room or a lec­ture theatre, waste valu­able timewrit­ing down notes and then go back home and study this?

This is very in­ef­fi­cient when we have the in­ter­net. And it would be much cheaper to give each stu­dent a free lap­top and free data where they can down­load lec­ture notes and start study­ing straight away. On­line test­ing and ex­ams can also be done on a daily or weekly ba­sis.

This is much cheaper than the cur­rent government sub­sidy which pays for in­ef­fi­cient brick and mor­tar struc­tures. If the government does not pro­vide lead­er­ship, pri­vate com­pa­nies will see the gap and dis­rupt the sys­tem by pro­vid­ing on­line high school and univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion, es­pe­cially with the de­cline in the qual­ity of school and univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion be­ing an in­creas­ing re­al­ity due to the de­lib­er­ate dumb­ing-down ef­fects of trans­for­ma­tion.

Why would par­ents send their chil­dren to lo­cal dumbed-down uni­ver­si­ties, where build­ings are razed with im­punity and where the ANC government is clue­less as to how to han­dle this cri­sis? For­eign on­line univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion is a re­al­ity and will soon be­come cheaper than the fees par­ents are pay­ing, will be free of dis­rup­tion and have the bonus of pro­vid­ing a classy for­eign univer­sity qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

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