Unisa has a race problem: if you’re black, promotion’s a walk in ...

Ideas

Unisa has a race problem: if you’re black, promotion’s a walk in the park

FREE TO READ | This is the column that sparked the controversy

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Most of the damage to our universities happens in plain sight. Right now SA’s largest university is single-handedly destroying what is left of the academic project.

But let’s start at the beginning. Why does a society have universities? It is to engage the brightest young minds available through higher learning. It is to set the highest standards for research and teaching so that graduates are competitive in, and contribute to, a global knowledge economy. It is to create the intellectual environments where research breaks new ground and merits publication in the world’s leading journals or by reputed scholarly presses.

A university is therefore not a sausage machine for producing automatons for the labour market, or narrow-minded technicians for the workplace. It is, rather, a place where a nation’s best teachers meet the smartest students in a laboratory of ideas to make sense of a complex world and to improve the human condition. That is the academic project...

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