Universities in South Africa are afflicted with the same sickness that’s killing the academies in the US.
It may even be worse there. Perhaps terminal.
Dr. James E. Martins, who lives in South Africa and keeps us informed about it, writes today:
Student violence is erupting on most campuses, and a headline in today’s evening paper, the Star, declares quite rightly that universities may well close down.
Pretoria University had to call in the police. And the University of the Orange Free State, with the admirable Professor Jonathan Jansen at the helm, had to allow riot police to intervene to prevent students from destroying a statue of General Martinus Steyn [president of the Orange Free State 1899-1902 -ed]. Jansen is a truly good and intelligent man – a firm and forceful black academic – and the students are “demanding” his resignation.
It is believed that these riots are politically engineered. Many suspect the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – a revolutionary party led by the firebrand Julius Malema – is behind it. Whatever the causes, they will ensure the demise of higher education in South Africa pretty soon, I fear.
Demands for “decolonized” syllabi are really only demands to be permitted to read nothing at all and to get inflated grades – for vandalism and shrieking abuse at lecturers.
The numbers of rioting students are quite small, but, then again, Lenin’s Bolsheviks were hardly a majority party in the early days.
Philosophy students demand to be taught “philosophers” like Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko [political activist killed by police action in the apartheid era- ed]. Literature students want to ban Western classics.
I predict that wealthy South Africans will send their offspring to study at universities abroad, and poorer students will suffer at academic institutions that have become inferior to inadequate high schools. A very bleak scenario!
Will those wealthy parents find universities abroad still offering a higher education worth paying for?