As SA’s universities are again overwhelmed by applicants at the start of year, we need to ask ourselves whether by following Britain’s educational model we are destroying our manufacturing base — just like them. The Austin Motor Company. Austin-Healey Cars. Avro Manufacturing. Armstrong Siddley. Ascari Cars (seriously?). There is a wikipedia page called “defunct motor vehicle motor manufacturers of the UK”. It has 86 sub-pages for each of the 86 British car manufacturers that went out of business in relatively recent history. And motor manufacturing was only one small part of what used to be the greatest industrial nation on earth. Granted, the education system was only one reason behind this precipitous decline, but it was an important one. After the Second World War, a series of British education policies aimed to get as many children as possible university educated. The bulk of the government’s well-meaning efforts went into making university education available to all as a way o...

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