THE IMPACT OF A FREE HIGHER DECISION ON EMPLOYEES AT A SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITY
University of Free State – Republic of South Africa
The widespread fees must fall protests in 2015-2016 resulted in the South African Government implementing and funding, on an interim basis, a zero percent tuition fee increase in South African public universities, The former president of South Africa Mr. JG Zuma also established a Commission of Enquiry to Determine the Feasibility of Free Higher Education.
In December 2017 the former president took the nation by surprise, by disregarding the main recommendations of the commission and announced free higher education for students who came from families who earned a combined total income of less than R 350 000 ( approximately $25 000)
This aim of this paper is to reflect briefly on the recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry to Determine the Feasibility of Free Higher Education, responses to the decision to implement free higher education and the impact of the free higher decision on employees who had to implement the decision a university in South Africa. A questionnaire was used as research instrument which consisted of Likert-scale statements requesting employees directly tasked with the implementation of the decision to indicate their perception on a range of aspects pertaining to the impact of the free higher education decision.
Respondents were equally divided as to whether higher education should be free in South Africa, although the majority felt the state could afford free higher education. It was clear from responses that poor communication, unprepared systems and inadequate funds impacted negatively on the implementation of the decision. Their observations on student behaviour seemed to correlate with challenges in implementing the decision without adequate preparation. This research provides a basis for a broader study on the impact of the free higher decision on public universities in South Africa.
Keywords: #feesmustfall, free higher education, funding, tuition fees, South Africa
|FULL TEXT PDF|