Free higher education

Free higher education
Another self-destructive South African policy
Cloete N

The South African undergraduate system is unsustainable; in 2014, universities had an accumulated debt of around R 5 billion, while NSFAS has a debt of around ZAR 15 billion. The recovery rate has dropped from ZAR 600 million in 2011 to ZAR 200 million in 2014, and NSFAS is not even recovering the interest.

The South African undergraduate system is a morally indefensible system and it contributes to inequality by having the highest private returns to higher education in the world. If allowed to continue, it will also undermine the best postgraduate system in Africa. The students are right, it has to change, but wrong that the solution is free higher education, because that will only lead to greater inefficiencies and greater inequality.