What does free education mean for the man on the street?

There has been a buzz around #FeesMustFall for several months and lately the punting of free education has overtaken the former.

What does free education mean for the man on the street?

Basically, we will have to succumb to increased taxation because there is no other place government obtains funding than from us. Even when corruption is rampant in the corridors of power, it is our tax money that gets misused. Instead of accelerating service delivery, our taxes find their way into the pockets of others.

Free education means that the autonomy of some tertiary institutions will cease to exist. There needs to be commonality among institutions with regard to their standards, which will be compromised by being lowered.

Many parents may choose to send their children to study abroad now.
There is a serious crisis in our education system. Firstly, the minimum pass rate has been set at 33 per cent, which in turn has produced incompetent students who are unable to cope with academics at tertiary level. They then continuously change courses, much to the detriment of their families’ financial resources.

Is it feasible for government to offer free education?

Judging from the lucrative salaries and perks that the over-staffed civil service has and the lucrative salaries and benefits that are enjoyed by all, this is suffice to provide for underprivileged students. One issue remains – the majority of beneficiaries come from the ranks of privileged students who find the ongoing protest as some kind of recreation, thus depriving the underprivileged a lifetime opportunity.
The onus is on the parents to take a stand and guide their children in the right direction, to take responsibility to pay for their children’s education because, to me, free education means a lower quality of education.

Bongani Hlatshwayo

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