Saturday, July 9, 2011

University justifies Racial Prejudice.

Here is the University of Cape Town’s reply to my post about racialism at this establishment of higher learning and my comments in red.
Dear Jon
            Your blog titled “Colour code your Doctor and live longer” refers.
You assume that because a black medical school applicant is admitted with slightly lower matric scores, (‘Slightly’ – there’s a huge difference between requiring 80% for Whites and only 60% for Blacks) he or she will graduate, after seven years of gruelling study and clinical work, without knowing the difference between an appendectomy and a hysterectomy. This kind of faulty logic is really where the surgery is needed. (Do they take everything that literally at UCT?)
            What you have overlooked is that once a student is admitted into any course of study at the University of Cape Town, that student must graduate on merit. UCT does not lower its standards for graduation. Students who take exams under an invigilator identify their papers with their student numbers rather than their names, so those who do the grading have no way of knowing the race of any person taking the exam.
            Admittedly, students who come to UCT with lower matric scores will struggle in the first year to adjust to working at university level – but then, so do many who enter with matric scores of 91% or higher. UCT offers all such students opportunities to be tutored or to take a bridging year to improve their knowledge of subjects like chemistry and maths. (And it is not just black or coloured students who take up these offers).
            Critics of UCT’s admissions policy like to draw parallels with Nazism and apartheid. But again, this thinking is in need of some critical therapy. How can South Africa become a truly non-racial society if one race continues to dominate in terms of education, career and lifestyle opportunities? How can South Africa be transformed if opportunities are not created to offer higher education to black South Africans who have demonstrated an ability to learn under conditions of hardship and poverty? 

          Through the race-based admissions policy, UCT is trying to create opportunities for those who previously never had them. We don’t expect to need such a policy for long; (How long is ‘for long’. A Black Government has been running the show in South Africa for 17 years now) we are hard at work seeking better indicators of disadvantage.
            It is true that there are white university applicants who come from a disadvantaged background. For this reason, in 2009 UCT embarked on an on-going investigation into measures of disadvantage – including not only race, household income and school attended, but also the many intermediate determinants of school performance. (You’ll need an army of investigators to work this out and this is surely not economically viable)
            It is far more complex than simply saying that ticking a “race” box is good or bad. One of the reasons UCT has made public statements about our admissions policy is to allow for thoughtful discussion of the topic. Such discussion might indeed produce a viable alternative to a race-based admissions policy. (The only just and perfectly viable admissions policy is to give preference to the students with the highest marks. Q.E.D.) But so far this has not been the case.
            Gerda Kruger, Executive Director: Communication and Marketing, University of Cape Town.
Dear Gerda,
          All the perpetrators of racial hatred like the Klu Klux Klan, the Nazis and the old South African Apartheid Government had what they considered to be good reasons to justify their views. Is UCT any different?
       Possibly the most disturbing aspect of your racial policy is that it is being promoted at a place of learning. Aren’t you thus producing more generations of people who will believe it is right to go on having prejudice of some kind based purely on Colour?
          Jon (Disqualified from Medical School on old age grounds; not being a member of the ruling African National Congress Party; disagreeing with the University’s Blacks come first policy; having been born at the time of the Apartheid Government; having a clubbed foot and because my wife has left me; even though I had a 100% pass mark)

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