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Education is not a luxury but a basic human right.

In the light of this do you think governments should make basic and
higher education free for all?

Group D

Education is the combination of basic skills, academics, technical disciplines and


experiences of life. It is one of the most important tools that a society possesses.

Hence government should provide free education to all. It has many advantages
such as it leads to economic growth; it increases the literacy level and
encourages lower income groups to attain higher education. But it also has some
backdrops such as the quality of education gets deteriorated.

(Education is not a luxury but a basic human right. In the light of this do you think
governments should make basic and higher education free for all?

Yes, the government should make basic and higher education free for all as it
leads to economic growth, it increases the literacy level and encourages lower
income groups to attain higher education.)

Firstly, education leads to economic growth, as, by providing free education to


the people, they gain knowledge on different sectors of business and trade, and
there is an overall improvement in work ethics. Education contributes to
economic development in many ways, and the escalation in economy is due to
the workers becoming more productive and efficient and with the advent of new
ideas, techniques and technological innovation. Education is the main catalyst for
the development of research sectors, which generates new ideas and increases
the productivity rate of the country. Education leads to faster economic growth
and investments in education could pay for themselves in the long run, and could
also play a role in reducing poverty.

Studies have confirmed that for expanding growth, education is of the utmost
importance. The effects of education show that with an extra year of schooling,
the rate of return to a student is anything between 5 to 15 percent. This is why
big agencies and multi-national companies look for highly educated employees
as they turn out to be highly efficient and productive. These studies have also
shown that by increasing the overall educational level, it has resulted in 20
percent of growth in output per worker.

(Kerr, Education And Economic Growth,10 JULY 2001, Wellington: P4)

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Education is not a luxury but a basic human right. In the light of this do you think governments should make basic and
higher education free for all?

Group D

In New Zealand between 1995 and 1998, by spending a larger amount of money
on education, the GDP rose to 6.1 percent from 4.9 percent. The country’s
expense on education with regard to GDP was above the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation And Development (OECD) average and it jumped to the
fifth rank out of twenty eight other countries.

(OECD, 2001,p71)

Secondly, the provision of free education will boost the literacy rate by directly
impacting national developments and creating more awareness amongst
citizens. The expansion of schooling is the single most important factor driving
the spread of literacy worldwide over the past two centuries, and especially the
past fifty years. Its impact spans historical periods and geography. Schools have
been, and continue to be, the place where most people acquire their core literacy
skills. (EFA GMR, 2005).There are strong correlations between illiteracy and
poverty, in most instances, where poverty rates are higher, literacy rates tend to
be lower. Poverty tends to prevail in countries where the literacy level is low.
Poverty can be combated with the widespread of free education leading to
literacy and generating awareness among the masses.
For example, looking at some of the developing nations like Bangladesh,
Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique and Nepal, where 78% or more of the
population lives below US$2 per day, adult literacy rates are below 63%, and the
number of adult illiterates exceeds 5 million in each country.
(UNESCO, 2005: Section 201)

Thirdly, higher education can be financed through loan mechanism. In this


context the students enjoy free access to higher education. But once they enter
the labour market and start earning, they are implicitly charged for their free
education by the way of high income taxes. This of course, is done keeping in
mind the earning capacity of the population. In other words, public resources that
are used finance a particular student's ‘free’ higher education is equivalent to a
piece of public debt, issued when individuals are aged 18 and paid gradually
during their whole working live. Higher education leads to increased earnings
which will be generated some time after the education expenses have been
incurred. Financial crisis has major affects on participation of students for higher
education, this may result in : i) a loss of talent since high ability low income
students do not apply ii) a loss of opportunity to individuals and iii) a

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Education is not a luxury but a basic human right. In the light of this do you think governments should make basic and
higher education free for all?

Group D
strengthening of the link between family background and a person’s lifetime
income. (V.Vandenberghe &O.Debande, 1995: PAYING AFTER GRADUATION).

One of the most common argument made by people against the idea of free
education by the government is that, it ignores the quality of education provided.
According to them mere school enrollment is not enough to develop the overall
character of a student, as cognitive skills are also important, as they are strongly
related to the growth of individual income and the economy. The most important
factor of education is to teach a student the right way of living his life. This
objective is achieved by developing a student’s mind and providing him with the
tools he needs in order to handle the real life situations. Proper education should
not only teach a student the discovered knowledge, but also make him capable
to acquire knowledge on his own in future.

In Brazil, a country plagued by high rates of grade repetition and school


dropouts, higher cognitive skills in primary school lead to lower repetition rates
(Hanushek et al , 2006). As a recent report by the World Bank Independent
Evaluation Group (2006) documents, high priority was accorded to increasing
primary school enrollment in developing countries over the past 15 years.
Whether children were learning garnered much less attention. Another widely
encountered problem with public schools is that the work environment provided
to teachers is not competitive; there is no evaluation criterion to improve the
teaching skills of the staff. Government programs are least effective in improving
the quality of service, also the spirit of competition among teachers is dampened
as there is no risk of any financial backlash. Most of the government run schools
are funded by good personal "connections" with people in power. Public schools
do not generally compete in order to survive but to acquire a little extra bonus
grant. (Leonardo F. Urbano: 6.9y).

But many government schools nowadays are implementing a program of


experimentation and evaluation for its staff. It had been missing aspect of policy
making, which now is paving way for a better quality of education.

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Education is not a luxury but a basic human right. In the light of this do you think governments should make basic and
higher education free for all?

Group D
In conclusion it could be justifiably said that it is the responsibility of the
government to provide free basic and higher education to all as it has profound
impact on the economic growth and literacy rates, also it helps students with
financial crisis to obtain good education thus breaking the chain of their family
backgrounds.