By Sinothando Siyolo
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 4 of VARSITY News.
President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated that his administration intends to build multiple new universities. He mentioned that Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, found north of Pretoria, was unveiled in April 2015. This adds to the two universities launched in 2014, namely Sol Plaatje University, in the Northern Cape, and the University of Mpumalanga.
My worry is that I have never heard of these universities and didn’t even know that they existed, until recently. I guess it’s because the government has failed to manage the universities that already exist. Most of these universities that have been around for years still do not have the necessary resources. This could however be because most of the universities have been taking more students than they can handle.
This is a great idea that needs to be implemented, rather than being one of those ideas that never make it to the implementation stage. Not to sound like a bigot but, this is an extraordinary open door for mainly black/colored children who are the majority that are often rejected because of space constraints in the current universities.
The new universities that Ramaphosa’s administration promises to build would be (in a perfect world), incredible on the off chance that they are situated in provinces that have no or less universities and a higher population. It would also be a great idea if those varsities were established in the provinces that are historically disadvantaged. One, for example, would find that many students have to travel to different provinces where they don’t even have families. They end up spending days sleeping outside and most of the time suffer rejection.
Building varsities is just one step in fixing the higher education problems; there is still an issue of funding students. Issues of inequality within the education system and the bad quality of South African education system.
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