Higher education in South Africa appears to be confronted with diminishing
state funding and at the same time, more interference by government in
its management and administration. Government’s policies on increased
access and participation rates and meeting the developmental needs of the country
may be in jeopardy as a result of the steady decline in the funding of higher education.
The extent of government involvement in higher education’s autonomy and
academic freedom may also lead to the loss of universities’ identity and ability to
determine their directions, roles and functions.
This article focuses on the funding framework for higher education institutions,
as well as on the planning process for new funding of tertiary education. Apart from
explaining the categories of government grants to higher education institutions, this
article also explores current funding problems and the implications thereof, as well
as investigates the practical problems associated with the interference by government
in the institutional autonomy and academic freedom of tertiary institutions.