The white man would be in absolute trouble if fees fell in this country. Maybe they would feel at a loss and move to Australia. Maybe this is all because they would no longer have disproportionate claims to the economy and that is what would trouble them the most. Now, obviously, it would take more than free tertiary education to level the playing field for the races in this country. We know that getting our land back though would be a great help as well. The truth of the matter is that at the heart of FMF protests is the need for accountability.
When we were given political freedom, we were promised a lot of prosperity and equality and only now are we starting to wake up from this elaborate dream that was sold to us. The truth of the matter is that we were not given half of the things that were promised to us and it is time we start asking all of these questions. So here we are, asking where our land is; where our free education is.
Here we are asking for the reparations that are YET to receive.
Before I even carry on with anything, I think I need to make it abundantly clear that FREE QUALITY EDUCATION IS POSSIBLE IN THIS COUNTRY. Do not fool yourself into thinking that the government is telling you anything remotely close to the truth when they say they have to scourge for funding. Institutions of Higher learning practice elitism, because that is what the economy practices. So the sooner we understand that these institutions sell, the exclusivity or rather the privilege of obtaining a higher education certificate, the sooner we will understand why fees are as high as they are. Fees continue to rise at an exponential rate while access is not an issue that is dealt with. This is because the structure is violent in their sales approach, ensuring that those who cannot afford will put themselves in unnecessary debt to gain access into these so-called exclusive spaces. So in other words, tertiary education institutions partnered up with the government are purely exploitative. Everyone (read management, government and the private sector) benefits from this current structure, because there is no shift towards total inclusivity. And they do not intend on making this shift anytime soon.
And before I carry on any further, it is nearly impossible to NOT add race into all of this because race is at the hub of it all. It is a class issue, yes, but we know that the class structure has hardly transformed since the alleged end of apartheid. This means that those who do not have the means now are the ones that did not have the means 20+ years ago, basically; people of colour.
Race is at the hub, and it is perpetually rubbed in our faces. When historically black institutions protest, little to no media coverage is there but as soon as the historically white institutions start protesting, media is there covering from every angle down to the bird’s eye view. This says a lot. It says a lot about the race relations in this country, blackness is still associated with rowdiness, with entitlement and all this other nonsense but how dare the people of colour drag such esteemed centres of learning like UCT or Wits through the mud? How dare they come and protest here just because they don’t want to attend lectures? LOL.
Race is what makes white people entitled to trivialise the whole issue and just boil it down to entitlement or an excuse not to attend lectures. Because “it’s these people that took Sarel’s spot in Wits Medical School with his 60% mark that is now protesting. These people are so ungrateful”.
So let’s not play the “Don’t bring race into this” card.
Now that that is out there, allow me to give you the facts.
But please be patient with me because numbers are not my strong point. Bear in mind that while other students were studying “serious” degrees that the country needs, I was playing with my parents fees chasing a BA degree. Because I wanted it for the ambiance, you know.
So anyway, the facts:
- Less than one percent of the GDP is being spent on education. The world standard is something around 2.5%
- Despite what the government wants to tell you about “those who can afford to pay the fees”, only 5% of the population would actually be able to comfortably pay what these institutions are currently charging (and I can almost guess which race most of this 5% belong to).
- It is suggested that if taxpayers alone, were to be the bearers of tuition fees, they could put together about R71 billion, which would be sufficient in assuring that free quality education is provided. There is a suggested formula to all of this. But I can’t regurgitate it because, numbers
There are other things that are suggested, but in totality, all of this would raise the funding on education to around to 2.1%, which would still be below the international standard. This is also ensuring that a university student graduates debt free and setting the whole system up in such a way that even students to come would benefit from this free quality education. Find full article here
So surely if it’s not impossible, why aren’t we implementing these things?
It’s simple, really. Here are some facts that don’t require much calculating:
- As it stands the economy is not build to benefit the black child.
- The country has not transformed as much as we would like to think it has.
- Even though stats show that the number of black graduates has more than doubled since “Democracy” (obviously because of access to previously white institutions as well), white graduates are still being employed more than those of colour. So unemployment for the black graduate is sitting at about 9%, while it is only sitting at 3% for the white counterparts. View Article.
BUT YOU JUST HOLD ON ONE DAMN SECOND FOR THE PLOT TWIST: Even if fees fall, we get our degrees and get employed; white capital would still find a way to keep you down.
Stats show that there is a shocking income difference between black and white professionals within their various industries. According to Analytico, white males in the professional sector earned a median salary of about R30 000 per month while black male professionals could expect about R9 000 per month. It is to be noted that white males were said to earn about 40% more than their female counterparts while black females are said to earn about 17% more than their male counterparts. View more stats here
These are modern day stats, no Apartheid.
So people of colour, what do you think this also reveals? Maybe it shows that if something like free education became a chat, a lot of the white mediocrity that has been churned would no longer be supported. Because all of the black students that are usually rejected access into institutions on the basics of financial restraints would now be able to compete with all the mediocre Becky’s that can flash a cheque and get into their program of choice.
If education is free, the rate of black graduates would grow even more exponentially than it already has, and maybe the economy would be forced to hire black people.
And what would that mean?? More white people unemployed? No never, because whites will always make a way for their own. But it would mean a slow and steady transformation within the economy.
And maybe that is what the government is really scared about. With the injection of “clever” blacks in the economy, our current government would no longer be able to lay in bed with white capital. Because the last thing white capital wants is to lose its share, even a fragment of it, and that is why they will do all that is in their power to ensure that fees don’t fall.
Because if fees fall, we all have a fighting chance. If fees fall, insecure, mediocre Becky’s can no longer hide behind “we worked hard to get here” or “I didn’t get into medical school because students like Thabo got in” or “if you really want to get into varsity then you should have gotten a part time job like I did”.
Because then the playing field would be equal. We would all have our marks to represent us and we all know what that would mean for the institutions, and for the white-washed economy.
We all know where the real resistance for the fees to fall comes from.
Featured Image: http://faith47.com/fees-must-
Signed: Siyamthanda Gaxamba