IT is no secret that South Africa needs free education. The announcement made by President Jacob Zuma in December is well overdue and should be applauded.
South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world and access to tertiary education has been used by the privileged to marginalise the poor for many years.
Brilliant black minds, gifted people who can become scientists, doctors and professors have never achieved their potential because they could never afford to go to tertiary.
That is however about to change. As much as we welcome the move in the right direction, the process must be managed properly.
It must be safeguarded to ensure it does not get abused.
We have become accustomed to brilliant laws and ideas being abused and end up serving only a connected few.
Corrupt individuals always find loopholes to exploit at the expense of the poor who deserve to benefit from them all.
Government needs to step up to the table and enforce President Zuma’s announcement with concrete plans and time frames.
Some have come out questioning where the funds are going to come from to make it a reality. Some universities have been turning away students saying they no longer have space.
This entire week has been full of reports of universities saying they won’t accept walk-ins and people should apply for space online.
That is unacceptable. The State President made the announcement, all universities must do is accept students and then forward the bill to government.
Where government gets the money should not be of concern to you.
Your job is to provide the education and let the ANC led government stress about footing the bill for free education.
When a black child passes one hurdle another gets put on his/her path.
We navigated the terrain of not having funds to study and now some are forcing the poor, to somehow, miraculously have laptops and access to the internet to apply for space.
How is that supposed to happen?
Some will argue that anyone who has access to Facebook can surf the net.
What many of those fail to understand is that for you to complete the process of applying, you need to upload documents. How will they do that when they don’t have scanners?
Continuation to try and block the black child from entering tertiary will result in chaos.
This notion of no walk-ins will give rise to rogue elements within the political circle to push for total anarchy.
Yes, utter destruction that might even result in the academic year being derailed.
No one wants to see that and most certainly our brothers and sisters want to enrich their minds and gain knowledge.
Universities need to desist from hampering the growth of the underprivileged.
The non-refundable R200 that is paid by every applicant along with the exorbitant registration fees should be enough to sustain institutions until government gives them the money for free education.
Attempts to use tactics to deprive the poor of education are unacceptable.