Public versus private tertiary institutions



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PUBLIC VERSUS PRIVATE TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS:


INTRODUCTION

  • A university, as defined by the New Collins Concise English Dictionary, can be defined as an institution of higher education having the authority to award bachelors’ and higher degrees, usually having research facilities.

  • A private tertiary institution would be one that is under the financial and managerial control of a private body, accepting mostly fee-paying learners (Adapted from private school in the New Collins Concise English Dictionary). An example of a private tertiary institution is Damelin or Varsity College.

  • A public tertiary institution can be described as an institution of higher education maintained at the expense of, serving for or for the use of a community (Adapted from the New Collins Concise English Dictionary). Furthermore, public universities are subsidised by the government and are therefore under the scrutiny of the Department of Education. An example of a public university is the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University or the University of Cape Town.



TERTIARY EDUCATION IN SA

  • Plagued by many challenges

    • 40 years worth of segregated education needs to be amended in a short space of time
    • At the same time competing on a global level, including technological advancement, etc.
    • Tertiary education was dominated by racial segregation
    • Up to the current government to attempt massification of education by opening doors to all


TERTIARY EDUCATION IN SA

  • Lodge (2002:69)

    • Better-educated, more productive workers seem a remote prospect given the recent trend of deteriorating matriculation results, along with the government’s failure to improve the quality of public education
    • Corruption
    • This can only harm the labour market


TERTIARY EDUCATION IN SA

  • National Plan for Higher Education

    • Satisfy national growth and development goals
    • While achieving equity with respect to both learner output and access
    • Key element in the agenda for change i.e. transformation
    • Encapsulating the principle of ubuntu


TERTIARY EDUCATION IN SA

  • The Tertiary Education Plan



TERTIARY EDUCATION IN SA

  • The issue of quality

    • Dominating in 2005
    • Castrillon (2005:44)
      • Both public and private tertiary institutions are under pressure to ensure successful graduate employment statistics
      • Seems a bleak possibility especially in light of jobless growth


TERTIARY EDUCATION IN SA

  • The issue of quality education



TERTIARY EDUCATION IN SA

  • Business community concerns

    • Brain Drain
    • Inadequately skilled labour force


METHODOLOGY

  • Exploratory in nature

  • Descriptive in that it aims to describe the results

  • Operates in the field of perceptions

    • Perceptions are the creation of reality for individuals
    • What do scholars in Grade 11 and Grade 12 regard as their reality when dealing with public and private tertiary institutions


METHODOLOGY

  • Two public schools and one private School

  • Challenges included

    • Time restrictions – especially at the private schools
    • Public schools rushing learners to complete the survey – inadequate time to read the survey carefully
    • Confusion regarding what is private and what is public tertiary institutions


METHODOLOGY

  • Selection of items in survey



METHODOLOGY

  • Total of 512 questionnaires completed successfully

  • Gender

    • 56 % female
    • 43 % male
    • 1 % did not denote their gender
  • Race

    • 25 % Black
    • 14 % Coloured
    • 10 & Indian/Asian
    • 50 % White
  • Age

    • 25 % 16 year olds
    • 46 % 17 year olds
    • 23 % 18 year olds
    • 4 % 19 year olds
    • 1 % 20 year olds


METHODOLOGY

  • Data Analysis

    • Frequency Distribution
    • Data presented as inclusive statistics – no differentiation at this point in time regarding the different gender, race and age groups


THE NEED FOR A PRIVATE UNIVERSITY IN THE NMM

  • Uncertainty regarding the need for a new private tertiary institution

  • Confusion regarding the difference between public and private

  • Figure 1: Does the NMM need a private university?



QUALITY EDUCATION

  • Quality education and high standards refers to excellence in educating learners, so that by the time they graduate these individuals are well-rounded and thoroughly grounded, skilled and competent, creative, flexible and adaptive to new challenges.

  • The perception from the sample is that education is of a higher quality at private tertiary institutions



QUALITY EDUCATION cont…

  • n = 512

  • Figure 2: Perceptions of quality education



STANDARD OF EDUCATION

  • There is the perception by scholars that private tertiary institutions have higher standards than public tertiary institutions

  • n = 512

  • Figure 3: Perceptions of the standard of education



QUALIFIED LECTURERS

  • Qualified lecturers are those individuals teaching in tertiary education, that are committed to their vocation by constantly advancing their skills, knowledge and expertise, through research and community service in their particular field.

  • Focussing on how the expertise of lecturers is viewed by scholars



QUALIFIED LECTURERS cont…



STUDENT-FRIENDLY & EDUCATION-CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT

  • This refers to the aspects a university must incorporate in the environment to ensure quality education that is both user-friendly and conducive to a quality education.

  • Students should have easy access to:

  • adequate facilities e.g. computers, bathrooms

  • services e.g. counselling, health services

  • right to consultation e.g. with lecturers



STUDENT-FRIENDLY & EDUCATION-CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT cont…

  • n = 512

  • Figure 5: Perceptions of a student-friendly & education-conducive environment



AFFORDABILITY

  • Affordability is defined as the ability to do something without incurring financial difficulties or without the risk of undesirable consequences

  • (New Collins Concise English Dictionary).

  • In essence, an average person should have the disposable income to be able to pay for their own or their dependent’s studies without incurring financial difficulty.



AFFORDABILITY cont…

  • n = 512

  • Figure 6: Perceptions of affordability



COURSE SELECTION & VARIETY

  • This refers to giving prospective students the opportunity to choose from a diverse range of courses to develop a curriculum that suits their future career path.

  • The sample has indicated that the variety and selection of courses in public tertiary institutions surpass those found in private tertiary institutions.

  • Comments reflected a desire to have courses presented by private tertiary institutions locally which are not catered for by public tertiary institutions e.g. medical field

  • Private tertiary institutions are viewed as having a limited number of courses aimed at a select few.



COURSE SELECTION & VARIETY cont…



QUALITY OF FACILITIES

  • Good facilities should comprise of the following:

  • An up-to-date library, consisting of contemporary journals, books and media including new sources of information such as digital databases.

  • Computer centres should have an adequate number of workstations, with internet access and e-mail connections.

  • The cafeteria should serve healthy refreshments that cater for all cultures and religions.

  • The university should be easily accessible for individuals with disabilities e.g. Lifts, ramps and wider passages.

  • Reasonable sports fields should be available to ensure that students can participate in their desired sport either socially or professionally.



QUALITY OF FACILITIES cont…

  • n = 512

  • Figure 8: Perception of quality of facilities



SAFETY

  • A safe environment refers to one that complies with health and safety regulations i.e. one that has proper sanitation, is clean and free from pollution, risk of injury, danger and violence. Furthermore, the university should uphold values such as respect, equality, tolerance and valuing diversity.

  • Private tertiary institutions are perceived as much safer than public tertiary institutions, with 74 percent agreeing that private tertiary institutions are safer.

  • Society tends to downplay the impact that the media has on this particular perception e.g. the media has sensationalised protest action at public tertiary institutions as violent and unruly, enforcing a perception of a dangerous environment.



SAFETY cont…

  • n = 512

  • Figure 9: Perceptions of safety



HEALTHY STUDENT LIFE

  • This implies maintaining a balance between academia, sport, culture and socialising during the student years. In other words students should lead a holistic lifestyle to ensure that they are well-rounded individuals by the time they graduate.

  • Scholars felt that a healthy student life refers to some of the following:

    • Public tertiary institutions are better able to provide a healthy student life as a more favourable gender ratio will be observed e.g. “not enough girls at private tertiary institutions”
    • No matter how unrealistic, the perception that private tertiary institutions are better able to cater for a healthy student life as “the lazy people will be separated from the hard-working people”.
    • Private tertiary institutions are better able to cater for a healthy student life as the possibility of “contracting HIV” was perceived as being higher in a public tertiary institution.
  • The perception of scholars regarding a healthy student life seems to be balanced between public and private tertiary institutions



HEALTHY STUDENT LIFE cont…

  • n = 512

  • Figure 10: Perceptions of a healthy student life



CONCLUSION

  • Higher education systems would be wise to pay attention to the indications scholars are giving. Even though what scholars perceive may not be the universities’ reality, universities have to adapt themselves as to what prospective students are requiring. After all, a prospective student should be viewed as a prospective client for the higher education system.





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