South Africa’s university students have been protesting loudly – and violently – in mass action to push for free higher education. But they are missing some crucial points, not least of all that there is no such thing as free higher education. Someone must always pay for it.
In countries where university education is free, the people who pay are those whose children don’t secure sufficient grades to enter the system – and usually these children come from less advantaged backgrounds.
In a nutshell, free higher education benefits richer people and an elite, so the South Africans who will benefit from killing tuition fees will be those from wealthier families who can afford to pay for this expense.