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Free Education to Fight Back Crime In South Africa

My thesis is the following: Crime rates decrease drastically when education levels rise. If this premise is even partially correct, is it not an obligation to try and educate a nation? In a country like South Africa where crime rates seem to only climb year-on-year, the decrease in education is evident. The following article will thus be an argument why free education in the future may not be so bad, and may even be needed to counter the effect of crime.


In a study done by Alma Gonzalez (2015 New York University), the following finding was made:

  •  Results show that increased college graduation rates corresponds to a significant decrease in the crime rate. A 5% increase in the college graduation rate, for instance, produces an 18.7% reduction in the homicide rate.”

If this is possible in South Africa, the consequences of (good) education could have drastic results. In South Africa, the education level is 12.1%, which is not very high. If according to the above findings, education rates can improve crime rates, South Africa can improve its crime rates by educating more people. The math is simple, but the application of good education is where the problem lies. 


In 2012 some schools had no textbooks for more than seven months into the school year. How can one pass school if you don’t have textbooks? Resources are lacking and keeping most people back. This is not a problem that will be solved with this article or by any article or study. We can talk about the problems until who knows what point, but the solution will only come when people stand up against the “older ways” of doing things, and ask for “change”. A catch-22 situation arises: you need education to know when to stand up for education. 


A new movement in South Africa is on the tongue of most students: the “#feesmustfall” debate. Without focusing on too much of the details of the debate, you can see the potential something like free education in South Africa. If the movement succeeds in getting free education in South Africa for all, the start to fight back against crime can begin. The need to study and learn is widespread. A lot of poorer people end up stuck in cycles of crime because of a lack of education, and a common response amongst them is that they don’t want to be criminals, but that they need food. It is often seen as a last resort – be a criminal or die of hunger.

The need for education in South Africa is there, it is needed to fight back crime. Studies have shown countless times that education is a way to fight against crime. The student movement #feesmustfall is a perfect way to build up a stronger argument why education must not be so expensive. If education can be made accessible to most people, the crime rate will surely drop. But we don’t live in a utopian world where the application of simple ideas works. The struggle for education will continue until public money is spent correctly. Crime rates will keep on climbing if education does not become accessible for all.

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