Universities are best situated to produce ground-breaking research, thereby sometimes playing a significant role in promoting the welfare of a country and its people. But in developing countries like ours – especially ones with dysfunctional education systems – they also end up playing a remedial role.
South Africa has an education policy which goes a long way towards separating church and state, while also allowing for expression of diverse religious and non-religious viewpoints. A pity, then, that the policy is routinely ignored in favour of Christian proselytising.
The UCT student newspaper, Varsity, ran a story that included a graphic showing how “UCT” voted on the “most attractive race”. This time, it wasn’t only Marius Fransman who let hysteria triumph over common sense in reacting to this graphic.
The UCT student newspaper, Varsity, caused a Twitter-mob to mobilise in publishing a graphic regarding the attractiveness of “races”. But doing so isn’t itself necessarily racist.
If you ever needed evidence that some students don’t really listen to a word you say, here’s some – in a course that teaches an evidence-based approach, and in a week where pseudoscience was the topic under discussion, a student submitted a medical note from a naturopath.
It’s wrong to impute negative intentions – that’s where the principle of charity comes in. And while an insistence on people setting aside any pre-existing perceptions regarding your motives might be logically coherent, it’s not sufficient in this world of real insults and (at least psychological) harms.
It’s the students, not Government, that deserve an apology from Prof. Jonathan Jansen – he who is often held up as the potential savior of South African education.
On August 1, 2012, Ferial Haffajee delivered the 47th annual TB Davie Lecture at the University of Cape Town. As chair of the Academic Freedom Committee, I had the privilege of introducing her. This is the text of my introductory remarks.
Anthony Grayling’s plans to launch an elite ‘New College of the Humanities’ has caused controversy, partly because the sticker price is £ 18 000 per year, rather than the UK limit of £ 9 000 for state universities. But elite educations are defensible, and should be expected to cost more than the average.