Race-based University Admissions Policies are not the Solution

Tiego Thotse | Jan 22, 2022
Race is a poisonous construct that we should all work to eliminate rather than give it more oxygen. Universities, as leaders in the knowledge-production landscape, should understand this better.

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Race-based University Admissions Policies are not the Solution

University admissions policies based on race and gender, such as Rhodes University's, are regressive.

Rhodes University states in Section V of its Equity Policy that it intends to achieve its equity goals by, among other things, "outlining in its Institutional Development Plan and in its Transformation Plans processes that will result in the continued changing of the demographic profile of its South African student body to more closely reflect that of the population of South Africa."

Several other universities across the country subscribe to a similar policy as far as student admissions are concerned, with the goal of limiting who is allowed to attend these institutions based mainly on skin colour and gender.

In such policy views, persons are reduced to things like skin colour and gender, but in reality, people are so much more than their appearance. Our abilities, skills, and talents, to name a few, are all as well aspects of who we are.

Racial and gender quotas should not exist in a truly non-racial and non-sexist society (as we profess to be as a country), given that you cannot begin to create racial quotas without raising race above all other aspects of an individual's life, and being racist.

Besides, race is a poisonous construct that we should all work to eliminate rather than giving it more oxygen. Universities, as leaders in the knowledge-production landscape, should understand this better.

Institutional admission should be based exclusively on merit. If universities want to address the educational disasters caused by the apartheid regime and the post-apartheid ANC government, they should perhaps lobby the government to transform public primary and secondary schools, particularly in rural and township areas, into true beacons of hope, and so produce more learners who can compete on a more equal footing with learners from other well-resourced, well-run schools for a place at university, rather than compromising the important principle of non-racialism and killing the spirit of competitiveness within the education sphere.

 

 

Cover image source available here.

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