When President Nelson Mandela of South Africa (1918-2013) said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, he did not mean ‘the world’ in the context of various sovereign geographical locations, neither did he infer, by his reference to ‘weapon’, that education is a signature ballistic missile capable of directly ending warfare.
Viewing the statement from the perspective of progression, one can understand that changing the world through education implies that the concept contains some elements with which it can carry out the process. From inception, the learning process has been particular to the upbringing of a child. It gains priority in the sense that 1 year after a child is born; he/she has to undergo the educational journey. This begins from childhood down to adulthood and the circle is repeated in the coming generation.
However, this process comes at a cost. This cost is not readily accessible given that most of the citizens of the world are impoverished. Hence, if education is important and dictates how far an individual progresses through life, then it is equally vital that education is made free for everyone.
Education is the process of encouraging learning, or the process of acquiring knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. The process of acquiring these values includes teaching, training, storytelling, discussion, and directed research. It usually takes place under the tutelage of educators, however, the institution also sometimes encourages learners to educate themselves.
Education can occur in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered. Formal education is oftentimes divided into such stages as preschool or kindergarten, primary school, secondary school, and then college, university, or apprenticeship.
Formal education usually happens in a layered environment with the ultimate aim of affecting knowledge to students. Typically, it occurs in a school environment involving classrooms of students, learning at the same time, overseen by a trained, certified teacher of a particular subject.
Most learning systems are erected atop a set of values or ideals that dictate all educational programs in that system. Such programs entail curriculum, organizational models, design of the physical learning spaces (e.g. classrooms), student-teacher relationships, and mode of assessment, class size, educational activities, and more.
In informal education, there is usually a person of reference, a peer or expert, to guide the learner. If they (learners) have a personal interest in the subject they are being educated on, they wanted to widen their existing knowledge and generate new ideas about the topic being learned.
For instance, a museum can be an informal learning environment, as there is an opportunity, free choice, multi-faceted and potentially non-standardized angles of topics, adaptable structures, rich interaction, and irrelevant imposed assessments.
First of all, the economy of the world keeps taking a huge turn. The standard of living keeps rising, prices of food and shelter keep taking a new fit and the cost of tuition is always affected. This trend has resulted in many families across the world struggling with finances to take care of basic needs.
Oftentimes, in the family budget, education comes as an icing on the cake – if the cake has even been made at all. It has become a choice rather than a necessity, as they have to choose whether to send their children to school to attain a good education. With this perspective, it would be a paradigm shift in the budget of families struggling to survive if it is free for everyone.
Secondly, why education should be free for everyone is that people would avoid the burden of student loans. Oftentimes, the high cost of quality education makes students obtain loans from the government that will be deducted as soon as the student begins earning. The money will be piled up at a substantial rate that the borrowers cannot afford. This could make them go bankrupt and lead to financial damage because of the huge sum of debt that needs to be paid off. If education is made free, the students would have more time to study and focus on pursuing their degrees rather than worrying about how to pay back loans while in school. This will enable people to graduate on time and move on to the work field in the job industry.
Moreover, making it free for everyone affects the economy positively as the future of the country is determined by the number of educated people reside in it and how they can use their skills to meet the country’s needs. The highly educated would then meet a standard, which translates into opportunities for leadership and catalysts for development. With this foundation, a country is bound for exponential growth. This is because the world is changing as its future is now in the hands of people who are knowledge-based or have advanced skills to inspire change.
In conclusion, why free education is useful is that it would prevent the government from wasting resources. Education is one of a kind because it can lead to many discoveries, like producing vaccines for prevalent diseases, pandemics, and more; development of information and technology, and production of revenue-generating infrastructures.
In the absence of this, governments would often need to import what could have been made at home if education is free for everyone from other countries thereby spending money. In an article by “Debating Europe,” the Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at the OECD, Andreas Schleicher, explains “What is important is that the best and brightest have access to university, and not just the wealthiest. At the same time, somebody has to pay for it. So, we need to find is a way to share the costs and benefits among the public, government, and employers so it is actually the best and brightest that will get the best places in university…” With so many reasons, education should be free for everyone!
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