Key Points:

  • CDE held its fifth debate on 6 November 1996. Education is an investment in a society but in South Africa this investment has produced poor returns.
  • In addition, higher education spending is skewed towards universities, especially the humanities and away from sciences and technology.
  • Hard choices will have to be made; scarce resources reallocated; and cutbacks to some institutions are inevitable.
  • The speakers were Fr Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, deputy minister of education; Dr Nick Segal, CDE senior consultant, strategy and corporate affairs director of JCE and newly elected president of the Chamber of Mines; and Dr Edward Antonio, lecturer in religious studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. The debate was chaired by Professor Douglas Irvine, former head of the department of political studies at the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) and a senior associate at CDE.
  • Why is it important for any country to produce international competitive graduates? Why is it important for South Africa specifically?\
  • In general, the answer must be that it is good for any country to have a vigorous intellectual life, a pool of knowledge and the high level of skills which goes with the production university graduates of that calibre.
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