ANCYL WCape condemns UCT's new admissions policy

League says race needed to ensure universities reflect the national demographics of the country


17 June 2014

The African National Congress Youth League notes the recent decision by the University of Cape Town's Senate & Council to change the University's race based admissions policy (see Cape Times report). This change in admissions policy not only undermines the democratic gains made in the last 20 Years of our Democracy, but further undermines the spirit of our constitution.

The new admissions policy denies the link between race and disadvantage, and is ultimately antagonistic to the national transformation agenda. It is not possible to achieve a truly non-racial society without taking deliberate steps to transform our institutions of higher learning to be reflective of national demographics. 

The new policy is essentially similar to the DA's "Open Opportunity Society" policy, and like this policy, it seeks to maintain the status quo. It cannot be called redress when a white Afrikaans student can be identified as disadvantaged through the socio-economic lens of the new policy.

It also cannot be redress when well-resourced schools such as Bishops and Rondebosch Boys have emerged as disadvantaged, while schools such as Mbilwi, located in rural Venda, which has had a 98% pass rate for the last 10 years will be classified as "privileged" despite the lack of resources and the location it finds itself in.

We are further concerned that the University executive has ignored the students' clear opposition to the new policy, during the various stages of student engagement around the policy before it was adopted. Student assembly, the SRC and the PYA have been united in opposition to the new admissions policy. The previous admissions policy had been yielding consistent transformational gains in every faculty, therefore the ANC Youth League is concerned that the motive behind this change in policy is disingenuine and stems from pressure from external forces. 

The ANC Youth League Western Cape supports the call for the Department of Higher Education and Training to be able to set transformational goals for institutions of higher learning and to lead interventions when these goals are consistently not met, such as in the instance of UCT's white male dominated academic staff profile and disproportionally white student body. 

We call on the SRC and the student body to heed the call of the PYA to challenge UCT council on this undemocratically imposed, anti-transformational policy.

Statement issued by Marissa van Rensburg, ANCYL Western Cape Head of Media and Communications, June 17 2014

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