Should Higher Education Be Free
Higher education has a lot of benefits to the society. When the market forces are left to dictate the nature of a country’s higher education, there may be under-provision. The economy may also suffer due to lack of skilled employees. A free market may also make higher education a preserve of a small group of people in the society who have the ability to pay the fee required for education (Cottom, 2015). Therefore, the government should ensure that higher education is free. The paper discusses the reasons why higher education in the country should be free.
Higher education ensures that everyone has the same chance to pursue an education regardless of his or her economic background (Chingos, 2016). This will ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity in life. The level of inequality between the rich and the poor continues to increase, and one of the ways to deal with this issue is making education accessible to everyone hence providing people with a platform to improve their lives (Pettinger, 2017). Students may be dissuaded to join higher education institutions due to high fee. Usually, students work part-time or take out loans to study. However, the amount obtained from these sources may in some situations be insufficient hence dissuading them for enrolling in higher education programs and entering the employment field earlier.
High Education is not a Privilege but a Right
Some individuals in the country view higher education as a privilege. However, every citizen in the country has a right to education since it represents the most viable way for the citizens of the nation to improve their lives and becoming productive members of the society. More people will have access to education if it is free. People may argue that there is the aid, but this is not sufficient to help cover an individual’s needs (Samuels, 2014). Charging fee in exchange for education means that the higher education institutions and the government are denying the citizens access to one of the most important resources, which guarantee a highly productive society. Citizens of a country who are educated have more opportunities for employment. This means that these individuals have better access the things considered as basic need such as health care, and services giving them protection and safety. When a poor person can access free education, he or she has a chance to change his or her life and escape the poverty cycle.
Higher Education Can Be Regarded As a Merit Good and Has Positive Externalities
Education is a merit good hence, people may undervalue higher education and underestimate the benefits one derives from access to education. Government provision through ensuring that education is free and accessible to all will encourage people to study. Higher education also offers external benefits, which the society enjoys (Govindarajan & Desai, 2013). Through higher education, a country can have more productive and more educated workforce. Research by reputable institutions has consistently found out that countries boasting of high levels of education among their citizens can develop more advanced and innovative products and enjoy a high rate of productivity (Samuels, 2013). This shows that the benefits of having a free high education program accessible to all citizens accrue back to the state since the citizens can be able to live a better and improved life without the need for government intervention.
The government must ensure that all its citizens have access to those services, which positively influences their lives. One of these essential services is higher education. Having free higher education allows the country to eliminate inequality, reduce poverty levels and ensure that the rights of citizens are upheld hence providing them with an opportunity to have better lives and create a better society.
Chingos, M. M. (2016). Who would benefit most from free college? Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.
Cottom, T. (2015). Why Free College Is Necessary | Dissent Magazine. Dissent Magazine. Retrieved 6 April 2018, from https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/tressie-mcmillan-cottom-why-free-college-necessary
Govindarajan, V., & Desai, J. (2013). Should Higher Education Be Free?. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 6 April 2018, from https://hbr.org/2013/09/higher-education-for-free
Pettinger, T. (2017). Should university education be free?. Economicshelp.org. Retrieved 6 April 2018, from https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/949/economics/should-university-education-be-free/
Samuels, B. (2014). Why All Public Higher Education Should Be Free. HuffPost. Retrieved 6 April 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-samuels/why-all-public-higher-edu_b_1099437.html
Samuels, R. (2013). Why Public Higher Education Should Be Free: How to Decrease Cost and Increase Quality at American Universities. Rutgers University Press.