Friday, October 03, 2014

Free university education?

Can this be true? Even if it is true, the quality must be bad. How can free things be good? You want quality you must be prepared to pay for it. The more you pay, the higher the quality. It must be, like our world best govt.

Effective this year, the whole of Germany will provide free university education when Lower Saxony decided to abolish university tuition fees. Wow, this is like fiction. Actually many countries in Europe provide free university education. Bloody hell, I am like a frog in a well. Only today then I heard about it, read about it. Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark and Sweden have been providing free university education for many years and it seems that this is a trend and other countries are following suit. In UK, Welsh university education is free for Welsh.

According to a chart from Source:  Scotland and several East European countries are also providing free university education for their citizens. University fees in Spain, France and Belgium are less than 1000 euros per year while Portugal, Italy and a few East European states are charging less than 3000 euros. No wonder their rankings are lower than our world best universities.
How much are we charging our students? Britain charges more than 9000 euros for their universities, the most expensive. I think we must be modeling after Britain and using Britain as a benchmark in fees and quality. Our universities are comparable to the best of the British in both counts so it is only appropriate to benchmark against them.

Why are some of these countries starting to offer free university education to their citizens? Simple. It is an investment. The better educated the people are, the more productive they are and better serve the country and its economy. Put it the other way, if the university education is so expensive that the people are not university graduates, how are there going to contribute to the economy? Would they be happy to be hawkers and crane drivers? In Sin City, many graduates are now good enough to drive taxis.

What if our citizens are all non graduates, would we be importing all the top and highly paid employees from abroad, the foreign talents? Highly skilled jobs and professions need university education. You cannot have doctors, engineers, scientist etc without tertiary education. Wait a minute, I may be wrong here, there were doctors in the past without university education, like sinsehs, dentists and many other professions. Could be self taught. Is this a contradiction? Never mind if we can live with fakes.

We need high quality university education. And of course quality means money. The buildings, the foreign talent professors, the land, very expensive here, the material, everything needs to be paid for. No money how can?

And providing university education is a big commercial business and can bring in a lot of revenue. Maybe this is one of the main reasons why our universities are so obsessed with university rankings. It is a big money making business. But can we also follow those countries to provide free university education to our citizens and make foreign students pay instead of providing free education to foreign students and make ours pay? Funny right?

The Welsh are providing free for their citizens? The European Unions are charging their member country students a lower fee than those outside of the EU. Is there anything we can learn from this news? Are we doing the right thing or the wrong thing?

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