The government should scrap tertiary tuition fees for the poor if the goals of BEE and affirmative action are to be achieved. These goals will only be achieved if poor people are empowered through education and skills.
The best criticism levelled against affirmative action and BEE was by Frederick van Zyl Slabbert who said the most disadvantaged people are poor, uneducated and unskilled blacks who never see the pot of honey accessed by privileged blacks, including those in power.
Currently, tertiary education is inaccessible to the majority of poor blacks. Poor students do not even bother to apply to colleges and universities because they cannot afford registration fees. The boycotts at the beginning of every year are a result of poor students' frustrations.
Government should take the brave step of paying for any student who is capable, but poor. It must ensure that education gets more funding than sports.
The education minister is admittedly playing a very important role. She has scrapped school feels for certain categories of schools. But unfortunately, this is not enough because tertiary education is out of reach of those children when they leave school. All poor students who perform well must be given free tertiary education.
Norman Mabasa, Kagiso