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[AfriNIC-rpd] Definitions of LIR versus End User

Guy Antony Halse G.halse at
Mon Jul 23 07:12:42 UTC 2012

On Mon 2012-07-23 (08:16), Jackson Muthili wrote:
> When looking at students as customers of an university, it does not
> matter anymore, a university is a LIR! All schools and colleges are
> LIR!

This is tangential, but I have a problem with the idea of "looking at
students as customers of a university".

The problem is that there are very few (traditional) universities that view
their students as mere customers.  Anyone who does has a naïve understanding
of the pedagogy of higher education.

Our Vice Chancellor frequently expounds on the fact that universities are
not businesses[1], and that if one tries to apply pure business principles
to higher education, its role changes substantially.  From a purely business
perspective, one of our most successful academic departments runs at a loss. 
If our University had chosen to act on business principles, the Square
Kilometre Array might not be coming to (South) Africa[2].

This difference extends to students.  If we were to view students as mere
customers then the role of higher education would have to change.  Students
don't just come to a university to pay for and receive a degree (whatever
they may think)[3].  Instead they are an inherent part of the process of
knowledge creation; even with infinite sums of money, without students
universities as we know them would wither and die.

In our institution terms like "knowledge partners" are used.

So, in our world, where our students are not customers but an inherent part
of our identity, it becomes easier to argue that a university is not an LIR. 
However, as Duncan Martin has pointed out, nobody would be debating the
definitions if it wasn't for fees...

- Guy
Systems Manager, IT Division, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Email: G.Halse at   Web:  IRC: rm-rf at
*** ANSI Standard Disclaimer ***                                   J.A.P.H

[1] Badat, S.  (2009) The role of higher education in society: valuing
    higher education. Available:

[2] SKA.  (2012) SKA site bid outcome.  Available:

[3] Boughey, C.  (2012) Rhodes University Learning Guide 2012: An
    undergraduate's guide to learning ar Rhodes University.  Availabe:

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