This work stems from an agreement between the University of Cape Town executive and protesting students to investigate and engage around the context and models for free higher education in South Africa. The two components, research and engagement, are designed to complement each other in aiding mass-based campaigns towards democratising higher education in the country. The premise of this initiative is therefore that discussions at UCT, at other universities, and in community spaces will be a consensus-building process that ultimately defines policy.
The research includes longer as well as shorter forms which focus on accessibility. Anyone is encouraged to freely print and discuss the material in community spaces. A series of engagements will be scheduled to prompt these discussions, and to reflectively form part of the research process. We believe that research and engagement are dialogical exercises, where the research evolves with lived experiences, and the engagements are informed by past lessons and technical knowledge.
We hope this process can help mobilise students, communities and those who are financially excluded (including those who never access university). This work adds to a substantial body of student-led research and consciousness-building that has formed the basis of calls for free decolonised education.