A Multi-dimensional Approach to Fair Access
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The goal in this chapter is to sketch the access terrain in order to understand what may be missing in relation to equity and to research so that we can work towards university access opportunities and outcomes which are more just. It is proposed that these are evaluated in terms of the actual lives that persons are able to choose by advancing their valued opportunities (their human capabilities), their achievements and their agency freedoms (Sen, 2009). The chapter notes the strong correlation between socio-economic status and educational outcomes (Moses, van der Berg, & Rich, 2017), suggesting inadequate opportunities for many to shape their own futures. Yet who goes to university, who benefits and whose social mobility is advanced are important public-good questions in a highly unequal country. In 2015, the median income for people with a degree was ZAR 17 000 per month compared to ZAR 3 000 for those without a degree (Makgetla, 2018), while the unemployment rate of graduates with a degree is around 6% compared to 27% for other adults (Makgetla, 2018). Indeed, at the time of writing, South Africa was reported to have the highest rates of private return from higher education (Montenegro & Patrinos, 2014). If we understand higher education in South Africa as benefitting both a person but also her family, and if we understand higher education as advancing social mobility for low-income families, then access is a rather crucial first step in this direction.
CitationWalker, M. (2018) ‘A Multi-dimensional Approach to Fair Access’ in P. Ashwin and J.M. Case (eds), Higher Education Pathways: South African Undergraduate Education and the Public Good, Cape Town: African Minds
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- Education