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Free University?

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BoogieMonster
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« on: October 23, 2015, 14:55:52 PM »

I think we all know what this thread is about.

What do you think?

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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2015, 15:30:10 PM »

Yes. But it must go hand in hand with strict(er) prerequisites for enrollment. And you get only one chance. Fail a course and you are out. The only excuse for sub par marks is death in the family, and only if it's that of the student itself.

Theology students must continue to pay full price.

Rigil
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Mefiante
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2015, 15:47:13 PM »

No.  Access to tertiary education is a Constitutional right, just like access to food is one, but no one is agitating that food be provided free of charge.  Besides, tertiary education is its own (later) reward because it bestows an advantage and subsequent material benefits on the student.

The thing I disagree with fundamentally is turning education, of whatever level, into a business.

And theology students must pay for all eternity. Evil

'Luthon64
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2015, 16:19:06 PM »

no one is agitating that food be provided free of charge

... right now. I think the SACP would beg to differ in the big scheme of things. Also is that not what the social grant system is meant for in the first place? It's not free food, but it's free money for food...

Quote
Besides, tertiary education is its own (later) reward because it bestows an advantage and subsequent material benefits on the student.

You just saying it because Blade said it. Tongue

Quote
The thing I disagree with fundamentally is turning education, of whatever level, into a business.

OK here's the only thing I ACTUALLY disagree with. You have beef with businesses that teach IT courses to help bolster candidates' career prospects? I have to tell you I work with many folk who only have a job because they did these and didn't qualify for anything else. Similarly almost any IT certification (iow: You pay company that sells product X to make you an expert on product X). Sure, they're costly (depending on who you are and what you think "costly" means), but they're needed and can be very beneficial for the trainee AND his/her employer AND the business giving them. It's a triple win.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2015, 16:28:30 PM »

Here's my 2c: No, absolutely not. We shouldn't even subsidise TERTIARY education because IT IS a DEMONSTRATED slippery slope...

And by demonstrated I mean... the medical profession.

(a) Government subsidises education for medical professionals because that's good™.
(b) Medical professionals are in high demand not just here, but everywhere.
(c) Government realises medical professionals qualify in SA on govt dime and then get on a plane and never come back.
(d) Government is outraged it has subsidised healthcare for rich countries.
(e) Laws get passed to turn medical students who qualify in to quasi-intentured servants.

What do you want to bet when qualified IT professionals or physicists or engineers roll off the presses on the govt' dime they won't be expecting some returns on investment before the person goes jet-setting around the globe?

... AND what reasonable basis does a person have for demanding that the government supply them with such a high level of means in a country where people really DO struggle to feed themselves. Isn't this a MASSIVE form of entitlement? The poor must starve so the govt can kick-start my jet-set lifestyle!

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Hermes
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2015, 18:30:59 PM »

The primary function of higher education institutions is to provide the economy with such skills as are in demand.  Class fees should be seen from this perspective rather than from an intrinsic right to higher education.  It is likely that there is substantially more demand for the B.Sc. or B.Com related qualifications than for the B.A. related ones.  There is little purpose in providing free educations to students to study courses that leave them unsuitably qualified.  I would therefore support comprehensive subsidies only in select courses.  This should be done through bursaries for qualifying courses to apt students rather than zero class fees.  State owned utilities such as Eskom and Transnet and the private sector can play a key role here. 

Not everybody is university material.  The Technical Colleges / Universities of Technology should be the larger institutions and more accessible.  Many of these used to operate on the basis that the student studied for six months and worked for six months of the year.  Somehow this system seems to have fallen apart and needs fixing.

I have no problem with graduates being intentured for a reasonable period after qualification, provided salaries are reasonable.  I was required to either work for my bursary provider or repay the bursary.  Similar contracts were common for persons trained as Air Force pilots, for instance.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2015, 19:23:36 PM »

OK here's the only thing I ACTUALLY disagree with. You have beef with businesses that teach IT courses to help bolster candidates' career prospects? I have to tell you I work with many folk who only have a job because they did these and didn't qualify for anything else. Similarly almost any IT certification (iow: You pay company that sells product X to make you an expert on product X). Sure, they're costly (depending on who you are and what you think "costly" means), but they're needed and can be very beneficial for the trainee AND his/her employer AND the business giving them. It's a triple win.
The flaw in that argument is the implicit assumption that everyone benefits because the necessary training courses are businesses in their own right.  For a glaring counterexample, look at what’s happening with SAP:  Specialists are paid huge sums because of their scarcity, which scarcity is directly attributable to the enormous cost of the speciality courses.  If the training were offered at parity rates (i.e., where the courses were available more or less at breakeven cost), many more people could afford the training, and the true talents could do no other than shine brighter than the rest.  There’d be more specialists to choose from, more competition for skills in the market place and consequently the product would sell better due to the more ready availability of support.

'Luthon64
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2015, 23:36:10 PM »

Quote from: Mefiante
There’d be more specialists to choose from, more competition for skills in the market place and consequently the product would sell better due to the more ready availability of support.

My reading of this suggests you are implying SAP is acting in their own worst interest?

In that case I'd say the free market will take care of that.
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Brian
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2015, 10:39:27 AM »

"Free" education (is never free...someone pays) and it implies that you have to take what you get regardless of the quality etc. Also, the right to education does not mean "free", it only means you have a right/access to it. Then you also need to add the question to this 'right'...at whose expense? The 'right to a job' for example depends upon someone being prepared to employ you...you cannot force someone to employ you because you have a 'right to a job' except in a totalitarian tyranny. Then economically speaking, only very wealthy countries such as Norway (oil rich) can afford it. SA's economy is NOT rich (regardless of wasteful spending) when the per capita income is calculated: A 2012 survey found that the average household income across all households was R119 542 per annum. This average was noticeably lower for black African households at R69 632, while the average for coloured households
was R139 190. Indian/Asian households had an average of R252 724 per annum and white households had an average of R387 011. (Source SSA statistical release P0100).

Someone in another skeptics platform suggested we do what Chile did (free education) and I pointed out the massive differences between SA and Chile in the population (read poverty + illiteracy + unemployment= need for education and training) "Govt in conjunction with business and other stakeholders will for eg have to determine priorities and set long term development and capacity building goals, e.g. mathematicians, scientists, nuclear physicists, (don't forget artisans!!), engineers, medics, would IMHO get a higher level of subsidisation than lawyers, HR types, BA's etc (and economists hehehe)...they'll need to set and quantify targets (how many?); schooling will need to be improved in the priority fields (more quality math, science teachers etc). These considerations will impact our economic strengths (and vice versa), e.g. where would agricultural skills and capacity fit in? In addition, the population profile of SA (55million) is very different to that of Chile (17.5 million) with a white and non-indigenous 88.9%, Mapuche 9.1%, Aymara 0.7%, other indigenous groups 1% (includes Rapa Nui, Likan Antai, Quechua, Colla, Diaguita, Kawesqar, Yagan or Yamana), unspecified 0.3% (2012 est.)(GDP $258 billion (2014 est.) vs SA black African 80.2%, white 8.4%, colored 8.8%, Indian/Asian 2.5%. (GDP $350.1 billion (2014 est.)." I was taken to task to quote stats in a racial context.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2015, 10:55:09 AM »

My reading of this suggests you are implying SAP is acting in their own worst interest?

In that case I'd say the free market will take care of that.
I think it’s the law of unintended consequences at work.  I seem to recall reading several years ago that SAP sold their training and certification rights to a third party and is now left with the results bred by a poor decision.  At least Microsoft kept those rights and only leases them out for predefined periods.

As far as the free market sorting it out goes, that’s the theory.  The practice is somewhat different.  Even the largest and wealthiest corporates will baulk at the suggestion of migrating to a different ERP suite (of which there aren’t many to choose from).  It’s like operating systems, times a million: once a company is tied into one particular variety, adopting a different one, even if it’s significantly cheaper and/or better, is fraught with so many actual and potential complications that will cause even the most phlegmatic CEO nightmares.  And migrating to a different ERP cannot be done gradually; at best, you can run the old and the new in parallel until all the kinks have been ironed out, but this requires two separate infrastructures which inflates the migration cost dramatically.  In short, it’s a snare that’s tough to escape.

In any case, the training programmes referred to above are relevant to quite specific products or services and could reasonably be viewed as value add-ons to a company’s products or services—i.e. the courses are intimately tied to a company’s offerings.  The same cannot easily be said about formal degrees or diplomas.  From an educational perspective, the situation is akin to someone completing a motor mechanic’s diploma at a technikon.  If that person then wants to work for VW, they’ll have no choice but to do an in-house VW course where they will learn the under-the-skin specifics of VW’s products and hopefully also how not to fudge emissions data…

'Luthon64
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 11:08:06 AM by Mefiante » Logged
BoogieMonster
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2015, 21:11:45 PM »

I was taken to task to quote stats in a racial context.

PC hates facts.
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