Response to Nico Cloete's Presentation on Free Higher Education
Since late 2015, the South African government has been under pressure to respond to an unprecedented post-1994 student movement demanding free university education. The initial concession of no fee increases placated university students for a while but during 2016 university fees, dissatisfaction with the government and the fragmentation of the government itself coalesced into a serious threat to Africa’s ‘’best’’ university system. While free higher education has now become part of a much larger societal contestation, a basic question that has not been settled is whether the much quoted (and admired) Nordic free higher education system is appropriate for high inequality developing countries.
In an open seminar '#FeesMustFall: The Free Higher Education Social Struggle in South Africa: Is the Nordic Model a Panacea for Developing Countries?' on 2 February 2017 at the University of Oslo, CHET director, Nico Cloete explored this question of the appropriateness of the Nordic model in the context of contestations about the path to take in South African higher education with respect to student fees.
Dr Jens Jungblut (INCHER, University of Kassel) provided comments in response to Prof. Cloete's presentation.