An Intersectional Study of the Funding Experiences of South African University Students After Majority Rule

An Intersectional Study of the Funding Experiences of South African University Students After Majority Rule

Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9567-1.ch012
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The funding experiences of university students in South Africa is explored in this chapter looking at race, gender, and socio-economic status. South Africa higher education was built on a foundation of racial inequality under apartheid. Any intersectional lens is employed to illustrate ways in the funding model crafted, before democratic rule is failing to meet the needs of Black male and female students who are marginalised by race, gender, and socio-economic status. A critical race theory displays how ANC-led government adoption of neo-liberal ideology has served to legitimise power differentials in higher education based on gender, race, and socio-economic status, nullifying the government efforts to transform higher education. Funding higher education in South Africa doesn't have a quick fix solution. It will take a multifaceted approach that takes into account historical disadvantages based on race, gender, and socio-economic status to come up with new funding approaches.
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History Of Funding Of Higher Education In South Africa

Bitzer & de Jager (2018) acknowledges that South Africa, has a history of racial inequalities like other states such as United States of America. Many other scholars admits the centrality of race in shaping the higher education funding policy in South Africa (Plagerson & Mthembu, 2019:Karodia, Soul, & Soni, 2016;Styger, van Vuuren, & Heymans, 2015). The fact that South African university education is too expensive, particularly for groups that were economically marginalised, has been a point that is not in dispute (Johnstone, 2004, Hull, 2004). However, there are scholars like Hull (2015) who argued in a spirited way that free university education is not the path to social justice. His arguments will be assessed in this chapter in the light of intersectional analysis. Critical race theory will also be employed to unpack the race dynamics that has shaped the discourse on funding of university education in South Africa, especially for the benefit of previously disadvantaged groups. His arguments acknowledges that the demands for students in South Africa for a free university education is a logical demand, given that higher education is perceived as a public commodity. Education is perceived as developing the critical thinking abilities that enable an informed citizenry participation in issues of governance. At the same time it is argued that education has merits for an individual, also making it a private good, in that respect.

Hull (2015) maintains that education also has an intrinsic value for individuals, particularly in the way it enlarges the horizons of the students to reflect and critique social, economic and political issues. A university degree is also seen as giving an individual, an advantage in the job market over others who lack that precious qualification. It is on that basis that Hull (2015), opines that it is not fair for the government to allocate resources to a few students, constituting 15%, to have access to this public and private good at tertiary level. Hull (2015) is in favour of funding public goods that are utilised by many people, such as primary and high school education free and health.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intersectionality: Explains the way race, gender and socio-economic status work together to reinforce disadvantages among some people in our societies.

Apartheid: A policy of discrimination adopted in South Africa before democratic rule that classified people according to race.

Whiteness: Is a social construction of race that allocates privilege and status to people who are Caucasian.

Inequality: A situation where an individual, group, class, race, gender has more resources than others.

Legitimize: To make an action legal or acceptable.

Neo-Liberalism: Its ideology that upholds fundamental rights, free trade, free movement of capital, and also believe is less government involvement in social policy.

Transformation: To effect change in the structure of something.

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