Dire learning: SA varsities are mob-run quasi-welfare organisations
Hijacked by factionalised student protests, bedevilled by tribalism and leeched of resources, they are no longer places of study
Something rare happened this week. A small group of university principals, scholars and administrators gathered in a room to ponder the future of universities.
The occasion was the recent publication of Rebels and Rage by the vice-chancellor of Wits University, Prof Adam Habib. The intense deliberation about the book, and what it signals about our future, was rare because senior university thinkers could apply their minds to a vexed subject without the disruption and grandstanding that has come to mark such events.
These days in our universities when you wish to discuss a book on a subject such as the politics of universities you arrange for extra security because there will be some students (if they are that) to bare their breasts or block the speaker’s view with placards or shout obscenities. A scholarly event gives you a platform for spectacle, an audience you would not otherwise have...