Raul Freitas

The business of education

 

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Modern society is chock full of paradoxes, education being one of them. Just about all of the essential services humans require to survive and thrive are connected somehow to a provider, who requires that you pay for these very things. But it’s not just having to pay, it’s being subjected to paying whatever said provider decides to charge.

Sure, they claim costs rise and then get passed on to us, but many times these increases are to maintain profit levels, or even gains. Also, we see more often than not that when spikes in prices come down, the price to us doesn’t. No one ever explains why, or even brings up the subject, and as dutiful citizens, we just keep paying.
It wasn’t always this way, but, in most of the world, primary and secondary school is government subsidized, which means parents don’t need to pay to educate their children, although these days parents find that supplies and sometimes books are not subsidized. As for post-secondary education, well, that’s a different story. In places like the United States, college tuition fees are among the highest in the world, averaging between 10 and 33 thousand dollars per year. In Canada, the average tuition for a bachelor’s degree is just under 7000 Canadian dollars per annum, although, as in other countries, there are variables such as the type of course and what university you wish to attend. The actual cost could be much greater than the average. For international students, the costs could be 3 to 4 times greater. I did a quick search and found that there are 22 countries around the world that provide free post-secondary education to their citizens. In the EU, some even provide free education to member countries. Some countries even offer cheap or even free tuition for international students. What do they know that we don’t? Nothing, I’m sure. A differing philosophy must be a part of it. Is education not essential? A chance at university education is an option that should be available to anyone, free of charge, and yet, that isn’t the case for most of the world.

It’s true that not everyone is cut out for it, or even requires one in order to jump on the hamster wheel that is working for a living, but it shouldn’t be a source of income and profit for publicly funded universities, to say nothing of student loans that punish those who work hard to graduate, only to be punished for years after with loans that seem to endure forever. Governments subsidize all kinds of endeavors that should never see public money, there’s really no excuse not to fully support higher education. In the last few years, we’ve been pummeled with rises in living costs, and education has also taken hits. People are always expected to pony up, no matter the circumstances, at least let’s educate those who wish to learn, maybe some of them will come up with solutions to make life more rewarding and satisfying, or is that a problem?
Fiquem bem,

Raul Freitas/MS

 

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