Key Points:

  • VIEWPOINTS is a new series published by CDE in which we will be drawing on the expertise of South Africans from a range of organisations to encourage and enrich debate on important issues.
  • Universities in South Africa are critical for our future. Professor Jonathan Jansen argues that chronic instability and the welfarisation of the South African university has affected the quality and integrity of South African degrees.
  • A weak schooling system has direct implications for universities. The poor quality of incoming students undercuts the quality of academic teaching and requires compensatory teaching.
  • A greater proportion of government and private sector funding should be directed at quality pre-school education for poor children.
  • University leaders must work to transform campus cultures into places of reason, debate and dissent. Universities have a solemn duty to cultivate habits of democracy among future leaders in society.
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