Questionable stats and politics in South Africa's Equity Index


Questionable stats and politics in South Africa's Equity Index

Three commentaries to the 2013 Govinder, Zondo and Makgoba paper, 'A new look at demographic transformation for universities in South Africa' (S Afr J Sci 109[11/12]) have been published in the recent issue of the South African Journal of Science. Two of these commentaries, both by foremost statisticians, question the statistical methods used by the Govinder et al. paper. The third, by the Director of the Centre for Higher Education Trandsformation (CHET), questions the article's politics.

The statisticians, in rather direct terms, state that while the need for transformation is undisputed, the proposed Equity Index is  conceptually and mathematecially flawed, and warn that the perverse conclusions could determine policy, predicated on an assumption that scholarship has driven these inferences.

The Director of CHET argues that the unintended consequence of the Equity Index could be an overemphasis on equity for a privileged elite at precisely the moment that the central challenge for higher education is to support development, with increased equity, as outlined in the new vision of the National Development Plan.

  1. Mathematical errors, smoke and mirrors in pursuit of an illusion: Comments on Govinder et al. (2013)
  2. Flaws in the approach and application of the Equity Index: Comments on Govinder et al. (2013)
  3. A new look at demographic transformation: Comments on Govinder et al. (2013)
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