Articles on Free Education

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A student passes South African riot police during free education protests at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Why the notion of free higher education in South Africa is misplaced

Some students argue wrongly that the ANC has betrayed the promise of free higher education made in the Freedom Charter. The governing party's populism is also to blame for the confusion.
South Africa’s student protests are raising difficult issues, some of which are not being debated openly. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

South Africa’s #feesmustfall protests: some inconvenient truths

Demands being made by protesting students in South Africa purport to support the poor. But the most marginalised young people in the country will not benefit from free higher education.
University students are fed up that their calls for free education are being ignored. Nic Bothma/EPA

Free education is possible if South Africa moves beyond smoke and mirrors

South Africa's higher education minister has dealt with fee increments for 2017 but sidestepped students' fundamental issue: an ongoing call to make higher education free for all.
Students have been agitating for an end to public university fees in South Africa. Nic Bothma/EPA

How to take free public higher education from pipe dream to reality

Free public higher education is possible and necessary. It's also realistic, if it's based on thorough research, consultation and students giving back through community service after graduation.
Unfortunately ‘free’ public higher education is never actually free. Shiraaz Mohamed/EPA

Why free education is a folly in an unequal society

If higher education is made "free" for all, the whole society ends up paying more. That's deeply unjust in already unequal societies, such as those in Africa.
Students demand free access for all at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Mark Wessels/Reuters

Quality, free university education is necessary – and possible

Many people dismiss the idea of free, quality public university education out of hand. But there are many ways to make it happen - and it all ties back to the idea of education as a public good.
School fee exemptions that are meant to help poor families can actually cause them major problems. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

University protests are important – but school fees also matter

South Africa's fee exemption system is at the heart of a deepening divide in the country's school sector. It's time for a major relook at how this policy is applied.
South African student protesters make their feelings clear: education is a right and should be free. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Free university education is not the route to social justice

As South Africa's students call for free university tuition, it's worth asking whether higher education would be free in a truly just society.

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