Capstone or Deadweight? Inefficiency, Duplication and Inequity in South Africa’s Tertiary Education System, 1910-93

27 September 2001
Publication Type: Working Paper

The present paper examines the patterns of inequality to emerge in South Africa’s tertiary education system. We find that the three parts of the tertiary educational system had different forms of inequality attached to them. In the university sector, education in the universities designated for the “Black”, “Coloured” and “Asian” (BCA) population groups under Apartheid legislation were not under-resourced relative to “White” universities in financial or lecturing staff dimensions. However, in terms of output generated, the BCA universities show a lower capacity of preparing their student bodies for the labour market, and a considerably lower research capacity than their “White” counterparts. The Apartheid university system was therefore not only a poor educational vehicle, but it was also expensive. By contrast, in technical education inequality is revealed by differential access to tertiary education between the BCA and white race groups. Finally, in teachers colleges, the patterns of inequality are much as for South Africa’s schooling system: poor resourcing in terms of real per student expenditure and student-lecturer ratios leading to poorer training in the BCA institutions relative to their “White” counterparts.

Series title: Working Paper (Interest) 14
1 June 2001
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