What are the kinds of challenges that face Higher Education in South Africa (Nelson Mandela University) today?


  • Prof P Naude (Director of the Business School, Nelson Mandela University)
  • Dr N Tondi (Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Nelson Mandela University)

Venue: Conference Centre, North Campus
Date: 22 February 2010

Synopsis of debate

The debate consists of two views on access to higher education. Prof Naude believes that access to higher education is based upon academic requirements set by government, universities and professional bodies. Each qualifying matriculant, irrespective of race, gender, or disability must be allowed to enter university. Even those students requiring financial assistance will be accepted upon receiving a bursary or a student loan.

Dr Toni advocates ‘massification’ of higher education opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Opening up access, rather than limiting access through minimum requirements is a form of redress to those previously denied good schooling.

Prof Naude argues that higher education cannot be construed as a human right where all matriculants may access university irrespective of meeting the minimum requirements. The massification approach should only be adopted when the schooling system has been improved. Those not qualifying for university must be encouraged to access the Further Education and Training sector.

Prof Naude responds to Dr Toni’s reference to their respective race groups. While individual identity is an individual prerogative, it does mean adopting a race label, for example, “black academic”, and reveals a mindset that accepts the dividing line between “white” and “black”. Prof Naude’s prefers an inclusive approach where practice cultural and restorative justice can correct the experience of discrimination. Finally, all people should fight against stereotypes. There are significant numbers of people from other groups who support the removal of labels and racial stereotyping.