An economic impact assessment of the closure of Vista University, Sebokeng Campus
Grobler, Wynand Carel Johannes
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The former Minister of Education, Prof Kader Asmal, stated in his report; "Transformation and Restructuring: A new institutional landscape for Higher Education" in 2001, that it is his intention to close Vista University, Sebokeng Campus and to incorporate the students and staff of Vista University, Sebokeng Campus, into the merged Potchefstroom University for CHE and University of North West. In this regard the North-West University was established on 1 January 2004 in terms of the Higher Education Act (Act 107 of 1997 as amended). In the National Plan on Higher Education and White Paper on Higher Education, specific goals related to this incorporation of Vista University, Sebokeng Campus, students and staff were set. This includes that the problem of geographical location of institutions based on ideological and political considerations must be addressed, the poor pattern of race and gender presentation must be addressed, the student and staff equity profile must be addressed, race, gender and social class distribution and access of students from previously disadvantaged communities, must be promoted. To determine if these goals will be met and to determine the economic impact of this decision to close Vista University, Sebokeng Campus, and to incorporate students and staff into the North-West University, Vaal Triangle, an economic impact assessment is done. The methodology used to do this economic impact assessment, includes a cost benefit analysis where the results are documented in a planned balance sheet. These results are analysed against the theoretical background of welfare economics, consumer surplus, producer surplus and externalities. The conclusion reached in this study is that students and staff will experience a welfare loss i.t.0. Higher traveling costs, higher tuition fees, extra travel time and if not compensated i.t.o. free transport, it will not lead to a parent improvement. The same conclusion is reached i.t.o. North-West University, where a net welfare loss is expected after the incorporation of the students and staff of Vista University, Sebokeng Campus.If the NWU is not compensated by Government, it will affect the financial viability of North-West University. In the case of no compensation it can be expected that a parent improvement will not be reached. It is concluded that if the winners (Government) of this incorporation of the staff and students of Vista University, Sebokeng Campus into North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus are prepared to compensate the losers (students and staff of Vista University, Sebokeng Campus and North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus) according to Kaldor-Hicks, a welfare improvement can still take place.