This opinion piece by Professor Cheryl De La Rey was published in the Pretoria News (late final) on 20 September 2013
WHILE the private and individual benefits of higher education are widely recognised, there has been debate about public benefits of university education. Empirical research shows that investment in higher education "pays off" in terms of economic growth, employment rates and improved quality of life.
University education brings benefits not only to the individual in the form of better employment prospects, higher income and positive life outcomes in general; it also confers significant benefits on the society as a whole.
This is true for both developed and developing countries, in the form of lower levels of corruption, improvements in the quality of public administration and health and well-being.