Free fee education: a comparative analysis of South Africa, Botswana, and Brazil.
Lecturer: Mr S. MotloungDate: 09 April 2018
The main purpose of this paper is to compare the policy of free fee education between three countries and how the countries fund the policy of free education. Namely south Africa, Botswana, and brazil. Free fee education is the education that is funded through taxation for those who are financially needy or education for all and it will be accessed through financial support. One can also say that individual should not be denied accessibility to education.
The purpose of education
“Education since ancient times has been to bring people to the realisation of what a human being is. It served as the social needs and development of the intellect that can contribute to the economy and create employment. Education prepared the students for job career and promote a particular social and political system” (Foshay, 1991).
Free education policy
According to Ouma and Cloete (2008:915) stated “that the policy of free education has the advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that it may led to an increase in social demand for higher education, poor students will be able to access higher education”. They further indicate that higher education will become a popular commodity and increase the participation of poor system of education has positive externalities. Moreover, the policy will tend to limit high crime rates and skills shortages.
“The disadvantages of the policy are that it will only benefit rich since they have big percentage of the recipients of higher education. Generally, those children from high socio-economic backgrounds attend quality schools hence they dominant (Ouma and cloete, 2008:915)”. Free education will therefore disproportionately benefit the rich yet they can afford to pay cost of tuition. The policy has negative equity implications as resources will be transferred from fiscus to affluent families. Therefore, the poor would pay education of the rich through taxation (HESA, 2008).
The policy would also be expensive to offer. The resources of the state are not competed for by other equally important priorities such as basic education, health, national security and infrastructure.
How to fund the free fee education
According to Tshwane (2018) The student universities and TVET colleges will be funded through bursary schemes. NSFAS will administer the bursaries of government that will fully cover the cost of study including tuition fees, accommodation and travel allowance. Additionally, VAT will be increased to produce adequate capital to fund free fee education policy and increase the government revenue shortage. De Villers (2018) the universities will set their own fees that will be approved by the council institution. The fees will be paid by bursaries that are funded by the department of higher education. Additionally, the government will also increase its expenditure for higher education by 1% of the GDP. Also increase block funding to the post school education and training sector in order to provide for quality education.
Financing education in South Africa
The country profile
Good performance on government indicators
According to south Africa country profile (2017:2) maintain that South Africa has made improvement since the abolition of apartheid in 1994 to its government embracing democracy and security investment. According to the governance indicators South Africa is the biggest economy compared to other African countries. Furthermore, it was ranked 64, 9 percent for government effectiveness, for voice and accountability 65, 7 percent. However, there is much scope for improvement in South Africa. The country has strengthened democracy and transparency as well as maintain national security. South Africa country profile (2017:2) further state that the parliament has passed protection of state information bill that has been widely criticized by the opposition and the media. Additionally, the country’s banking system has adequate capital resources, a solid governing and administrative environment as well as infrastructure. South Africa’s political and economic influence the rand to a great extent.
The women participation in labour force is increased and the gender gap has decreased. The country boosts the enrolment of boys and girls with high access to primary and secondary education system (south Africa country profile, 2017:3).
The historical background
Pillay (2010:155) “highlights that before democracy the South African government tertiary education funding policies reflected apartheid’s divisions and the different governance models, which it is imposed on higher education.” The original funding model developed during apartheid era. The concern with funding was related with equity access mostly of the disadvantaged black South Africans (Pillay, 2010:156).
Pillay (2010:156) Higher Education change in South Africa entail a cooperation of creative methods to engage issues of redress. However, access to higher education remains on apparatus for achieving higher education in south Africa. There is a need to enable access by improving student access with success by ensuring their participation. Pillay further indicate that increased student admission to higher education institution has been related with the recent massification of higher education. The concern with greater input is not new in South Africa.
In South Africa public funding is currently an issue. The funding has been declining and opportunities for winning non-government revenue remain limited. The funds for higher education is critical for the attainment of five key policy identified by the National Plan on Higher Education (Ouma and Cloete, 2008:906). It produces the graduates needed for social and economic development, achieving equity in the South African education system, sustaining and promoting research and restructuring the institutional landscape of education system (Ouma and Cloete, 2008:906).
How to make the free fee education reality
According to Ouma and Cloete, (2008:907) the state is the source of financial support in South African universities. It has been historically provided the core support for these institutions operating and capital expenses. They further state that the state funding differs for individual universities; some receive more than 30 percent of their total income from the government. while other receive 65 percent of their total revenues and 50 percent for average universities of their total revenue from the state appropriations (MoE, 2004).
Financing Education in Botswana
According to Botswana country review (2017:60) Botswana respect civil and human rights of its citizens with a few prominent allowances. It preserved the status of multi-party democracy since independence in 1966. Botswana has a better average of human rights compared with other African countries. Moreover, the government function as the country rely on either modern and traditional customary law or institutions. The country has graduated to the state of middle income and will therefore stop receiving development aid (Botswana country review,2017:63).
Botswana is in relation with the international organisations such as United Nations and African union. Furthermore, as the member of SADC Botswana has sought to make SADC a working vehicle for the economic development and promoted efforts to make the region self-policing in terms of preventative diplomacy and good governance. It is partnership with South Africa regarding these efforts and share a special relationship with South Africa. Botswana is liberal democratic state that share common vision for Africa with South Africa (Botswana country review,2017:72).
Botswana country review (2017:143) maintain that Botswana is the world fastest growing economies and highest growth prospect since independence. The country relies on a single luxury export that help to sharp the economy. Furthermore, Botswana has gained reputation as one of the stable African country and the continent longest multiparty democracy.
Higher education in Botswana has generally been free in practice. Government has provided both institutional and student funding, through provision of bursaries. These bursaries in some instance were supposed to be paid back by graduates once they start entering the labour force. The student who went into tertiary institution other than university received 100% funding with no requirement to pay back.
The government of Botswana play a major role in sponsoring almost all tertiary education students, both at home and abroad through the provision of student loans other form of funding since 1990. The government has been spending on average percent of GDP on tertiary education which is a reasonably high level compared to other African countries. However, the enrolment figures at all tertiary institutions remain below the level of demand for access with only 12% of the 18-24 age cohort presently at range of institutions (diplomas and degrees).
The government grouped the higher education under what is called tertiary education, which refers to all education that require the minimum entry requirement of senior secondary school.
Financing Education in Brazil
Brazil country review (2017:12) state that the Brazil has a strong federal republic with the powers to the executive, judiciary and the legislature. Although the country is divided into 26 states and municipalities, this has enabled centralized rule over the country. Moreover, the country invests in improving urban infrastructure that will benefit eight million families with water supply and sewerage (Brazil country review, 2017:13). It is the largest and most populous country in South America. Also its economy outweighs other South American countries with developed and large agricultural, mining and service sectors (Brazil, 2017:102).
In Brazil, “free education is presented by the ministry of education, which offers scholarships for graduate degrees, masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral for Brazilian and immigrants who have Brazilian citizenship”. However, the top universities and research centres are free institutions, funded by either the local state (state universities) or the federal government (federal universities). Graduate scholars can get paid if they qualify for incentive but competition is extremely fierce.
Ranieri (2010:16) highlights that the Brazilian government plays an important role in public and private education, it establishes and implements policies it also finances teaching and research. In the constitution the government has established that the universalization of free fundamental education that will be legal through a legal framework of financing, to achieve this goal the federal has implemented by using public funds.
According to Tristan (2007:579), Admission to higher education in Brazil is to a large extent limited to the higher socio-economic groups. Free universities have restricted spaces and admission is determined by highly competitive exams, thus excluding those who have not had a high quality secondary education or attended a costly introductory course. Tristan (2007:579), In Brazil is no exception to the global phenomenon of increasing Higher Education enrolment yet access is still very limited, with only 90% net enrolment. A number that is still all the more unacceptable given that Brazil is not a low income country. Furthermore, Tristan maintain that brazil is currently involved in the process to reform the education to increase the enrolment.
Ouma (2017:17) states that the federal government has maintained the programme for university for all since 2004, there is considerable spare capacity in the system despite the high demand of higher education. Moreover, when the students from private universities are unable to pay the fees the government encourages these universities to allocate their unfilled places free of charge to low income students in the exemption from tax payments return. The government has also introduced action policies in both the public and private institutions to address the issue of racial inequalities (Ouma, 2017:18).
The current initiatives for achieving equitable access in Brazil
Tristan (2007:586) The increase of the private sector is the main support of higher education policy in Brazil. In the recent years it has been the expansion of the private sector. However, the public sector has been regarded as expensive and incompetent and unable to deliver the diversity of provision and the awareness to consumers crucial in the current context. Tristan (2007:587) The student loans and scholarships, there have however, been some efforts to permit students without the means of paying the full fees to attend private institutions. Mostly essential of these is the student loans scheme known as FIES, which was introduced in 1999. It offers 70% of the fees and is paid straight to the institution rather than the student (Ouma, 2017:18).
South African government have reached high level of higher education funding, with no cost-sharing fee. However, their system faces enormous challenges of respect and efficiency. While Botswana made efforts to increase student access to higher education, by increasing facilities in local institutions as well as placing students outside the country.
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