Can Free Education Benefit Global Economy?

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nelson mandela quote education is the most powerful weapon...

Free education is education funded through government spending or charitable organizations rather than tuition funding. Many models of free higher education have been proposed around the world.

Primary school and other comprehensive or compulsory education is free in many countries (often not including primary textbook). Tertiary education is also free in certain countries, including post-graduate studies in the Nordic countries.

The Article 13 of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ensures the right to free education at primary education and progressive introduction of it at secondary and higher education as the right to education.

For example, to rebuild America’s economy in a way that offers everyone an equal chance to get ahead, federal support for free college tuition should be a priority in any economic recovery plan in 2021. Research shows that the private and public economic benefit of free community college tuition would outweigh the cost.

At the University of Oslo, there is no tuition fee except a small semester fee of NOK(600) (US$74). From 2013 in Northern Europe, Estonia started providing free higher education as well. Sweden, until the early 21st century, provided free education to foreign students but changes have been introduced to charge fees to foreign students from outside the European community.

Denmark also has universal free education, and provides a monthly stipend, the “Statens Uddannelsesstøtte” or “SU”, to students over 18 years of age or students who are under 18 and attending a higher education. Bachelor and master’s degree programs in Denmark are offered in either Danish or English depending on the program or university.

Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lebanon, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Uruguay provide free education at all levels, including college and university for its citizens.

Considering beyond the individual, free college education benefits society as a whole. With tuition-free higher education, more students will be able to attend college, meaning there would be a more high-skilled, well-educated workforce.

Education promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits. It is a powerful tool by which economically and socially marginalized adults and children can lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully as citizens.

If free education globally were to happen, the impact of free college would become much more progressive. Wealthier students are already mostly going to college, and so free college might shift them from the private sector to the public sector.

Open Campus states: “The last couple of years have seen substantial momentum in the drive toward “free college.” It’s a major talking point in the Democratic primary. Now twenty-one states have some type of free-college program. And polls show a strong majority favors free tuition at public colleges.”

Who Benefits most from Free Higher Education?

Students who enrolled full time at four-year universities for their first year of college, as opposed to those who enrolled part time or went to community college, reaped the most benefits from free tuition. Many students do not attend college because they cannot afford it. The Princeton Review’s 2021 College Hopes & Worries survey shows that eligible and skilled students who are worried about the increasing cost of college are 12 to 16 times more likely to quit college.

Education is a Privilege, not a Right

There are other children who wish to go to school, but the importance of education in their country is often overlooked. Therefore, we have to improve and provide free education for poor children up to 12 years in formal schools. Non-formal education should play a greater role in secondary and higher education. Our global educational system should assist all people to be able to cope with their respective social and economic problems making progress in their lives.

Pros and Cons to Free Higher Education

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The common materials offered by online educational sites are e-books, lectures in audio and video clips, e-journals, encyclopedias, e-books, and more. You should go for online certification courses to gain credentials that can make you more valuable at work. It also helps you to tell your skills to the employer. These certificates are an investment in building your career.

For example, University of the People is opening the gates to higher education by offering online, tuition-free, accredited degree programs to any qualified applicant. They partner with International leading organizations, corporations, and foundations to help enrich our degree programs and broaden student opportunities.

As the world’s first tuition-free, accredited, American university UoPeople has been recognized in top publications across the globe – from the BBC to The New York Times.

Academic Partnerships

UoPeople partners with top universities worldwide to create unique, stimulating opportunities for our students. These partnerships enhance our online degrees with top of the line academic programs and research.

Charitable Partnerships

UoPeople partners with prominent foundations to help continue to pursue our mission of providing higher education anytime, anywhere through online learning.

Our foundation partners offer students financial resources to successfully complete their online degree, as well as opening the doors to further access our online degree programs.

Free education does not only take the form of publicly funded institutions like state universities.

Sample Countries with Free Education Programs

In European Union countries such as France and Malta, tuition is usually free for European students.

In Germany, tuition is free for all European and international students.

In Scotland, university tuition is free for all Scottish nationals and is discounted for all European students; except from students coming from other parts of the United Kingdom.

In Fiji the government announced in 2013 it would cover the costs of primary and secondary school education, equivalent to 250 Fiji dollars per year per student. Higher education is still to be seen.

In Mauritius, the government provides free education to its citizens from pre-primary to tertiary levels. Since July 2005, the government also introduced free transport for all students. Higher education is still to be seen.

In New Zealand, the Labor government will introduce three years of free post-school study or training. From January 1, 2018, new students will have one year free for entering study or training. From 2021, those starting tertiary education would get two years free, and from 2024 three years. The overall cost of the package is $6 billion. Labor has also pledged to increase student allowances by $50 a week, and to restore post-graduate students’ eligibility for student allowances.

In the Philippines, public primary and secondary schools are free of tuition. The 1935 Constitution provided for universal primary education. Primary education was made free under the 1973 Constitution, while the 1987 Constitution extended free education to the secondary level. Free public tertiary education has been enacted in 2017.

In Russia, prior to the break-up of the Soviet Union, tuition was free for everyone obtaining sufficient grades. Since 1991, if a student obtains sufficient grades, he or she is still eligible for a free education (on a competitive basis) in state or private universities, but he/she can also pay for studying if grades are above minimal threshold, but not enough to be enrolled into desired university for free.

In Sri Lanka, free education is provided by the government at different levels. Government funded schools such as national schools, provincial schools and Piriven provided primary and secondary education free, while assisted schools and semi-governmental schools provided the same at subsidized rates. At the university level, the universities provide undergraduate courses free, however, this totals only about 10% for those qualified for university entrance.

Grants and scholarships are provided for a limited number of study allowances. Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara who was the Minister of Education made education free for all Sri Lankan students in 1940 s. Kannangara’s significant achievements in areas of education have led him to being commonly referred to as the Father of Free Education in Sri Lanka.

In Thailand, free education began around in 1996.

In Iran, Nasra is a movement aiming to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults in 2018. This social movement focuses on digital media use and mental health and increase the skills of using the media for the public. The most prestigious universities are called governmental universities which offer free education for students who pass a very competitive entrance exam with high scores. Graduates from these universities are obliged to serve the country for as many years as they studied for their degree, in order to get their diploma.

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

~ Nelson Mandela

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This quote by Nelson Mandela is one of the most famous sayings on the value of education.

RELATED: In a life of extremes, education was a constant

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