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Cape Town - A proposal to extend university courses by a year would see an additional 28 percent of students graduate.
A Council for Higher Education report released this week revealed shockingly low university graduation numbers.
Just 50 percent of students graduated and less than 5 percent of young African and coloured people succeeded in tertiary education, it said.
A task team appointed by the council had proposed a flexible curriculum structure in which courses would be extended by a year to give students the academic and social foundation needed to succeed.
The report made it clear that “performance in higher education is marked by high levels of failure and dropout rate”, and that intervention was needed.
“The current costs of inefficient and wasteful use of resources in the system are high,” the report read.
It projected that should courses be a year longer, an additional 15 000 students, or 28 percent, would graduate from university. The amount spent per graduate would be reduced by 10 percent.
“In practice, increasing graduate output will inevitably carry additional cost.
“However, the projections show that the flexible curriculum structure outweighs its additional costs with increased graduate output.”
The report said that implementing the proposal would be financially viable and would be the most efficient way of improving the number of graduates.
This would mean significant transformation in higher education, the report said.
“The task team believes that its investigation has shown that implementing the flexible curriculum structure is feasible, and is the most educationally sound and cost-effective of the possible options for systemic reform.”