Higher education in South Africa is becoming an extremely competitive field. With only a tiny amount of placements in public universities available, competition begins much earlier than when classes even start.
The tension is so high that violence has broken out. In Johannesburg last January, roughly 85,000 prospective students tried for a mere 11,000 spots at the University of Johannesburg. This turned into a violent confrontation that killed one mother and left a small number of others injured.
The university placement tension leaves many young educated people without prospects for better jobs in the future. Joblessness now affects almost 33% of the nation – a striking figure that has people of all socioeconomic levels concerned.
President Jacob Zuma has given his word that two new universities will be built in under five years. The case for greater vocational training programs is making headway, too. Young people eager to find higher education and even work only have to wait for these opportunities to come and come quickly.
In the meantime, the millions of South Africans affected continue to bring South Africa’s higher education system to the international media’s doorstep.
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