South African Journal of Higher Education

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South African legislation on limiting private and foreign higher education: protecting the public or ignoring globalization?

E Bitzer


In October 2000 legislation was passed by the National Assembly to amend the Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997). A number of the amendments were aimed at limiting the operations of private and foreign higher education institutions in South Africa. Good arguments exist for the legislation as accepted, but questions are also being raised as to whether the amended Act might represent some form of protectionism, allowing certain local higher education institutions to continue with weak programmes and practices instead of allowing open competition to challenge and eliminate weaknesses. Questions are also being asked about depriving students of opportunities and choices in an increasingly globalised economy.The article introduces a link to the concept of globalisation by indicating how global financial markets impact on developing countries. It then explores the globalisation phenomenon as it impacts on education in general and higher education in particular. Against a backdrop of the factors leading to closer regulation of private and foreign higher education, the article discusses its implications and points towards certain alternative avenues that might protect "consumers" of higher education on the one hand but also promote healthy competition and co-operation for improved quality in higher education in South Africa.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.16(1) 2002: 22-28
AJOL African Journals Online