DEBATE: Should university education be free?

The quality of education will drop It is far from impossible to have free university education, the cost of that would be very high and simply unsustainable.
Students graduate after completing their university education. (Net photo)
Students graduate after completing their university education. (Net photo)

The quality of education will drop

1426190049donnah-mbabazi

It is far from impossible to have free university education, the cost of that would be very high and simply unsustainable.

Of course the more graduates we have, the better, but how do we get to that? Making universities free is not the most appealing way out; the government already has a more than appropriate option, a student loan. Students get loans and pay them later when they start working, and that’s an awesome way to help citizens and not push the government to bankruptcy.

The quality of education would also suffer if university education is free. If this were to happen, there would be an increase in the number of students and the lecturers would become less because of poor payment.Even the few still lecturing for the sake of it would eventually lose motivation because of the miserable pay. So yes, with free university education, the country would have a great number of graduates, but of what quality?

Full government funding would be the kiss of death for university education; students wouldn’t even bother working hard knowing that everything is served on a silver platter. But with a glimpse of a parent’s struggle to get a child to the finish line, I’m certain very few would take that for granted and would refrain from just ‘chilling’ in hostels.

An understanding person will struggle to reap the fruits from the sweat of their loved ones.

It is fair and understandable to say that it makes more sense if there is free access to both primary and secondary education since the skills acquired during these periods are absolutely necessary for people to function effectively within society.

For university, well it’s an additional advantage but not as essential as the others in one’s capacity building. The cost is just too high, people may pay for it if they wish to indulge but it shouldn’t be viewed as an entitlement owed by the state to provide to everyone.

Universities should therefore let in smart people, irrespective of their financial background, which will in turn help finance capable people from disadvantaged backgrounds through planned government programmes.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

For the sake of the future, yes

1426190082patrick-bucyana

Knowledge shouldn’t come with a price tag, so let me start my argument with one question - would you rather have a few people educated and save on the amount spent by government or would you rather let the government spend money to educate its citizens, invest in the future and many years down the road, have a booming economy because of many educated Rwandans?

In Rwanda today, higher education is seen as a privilege and not a right, but not everyone has that privilege and the way higher education costs now, fewer people will be able to afford.

Sure there’s aid, but it’s not enough to cover the rising costs without putting students into an insane amount of debt. There’s only a limited amount of money one can take out without having that extra stress in their lives, and not everyone can get their parents to pay or help take out loans.

I believe students shouldn’t only have free education but also be paid. The government of Rwanda recently partnered with Carnegie Mellon University and to make sure that these students settle and put their minds to work, they don’t have to worry about tuition.Most importantly, they also get an allowance which helps them settle and all they have to worry about is their grades.

Today, Carnegie Mellon is a model university to our local universities and their graduates have portrayed great levels of excellence in their various fields of work.

Everyone would be able to get high quality higher education no matter what economic resources they or their families currently enjoy.

No longer would poor students have to choose between working long hours in restaurants with low wages to finance their education, thereby jeopardising their ability to perform well in or even complete their courses, and taking on large debts they cannot begin to pay.

Under my proposal, no one would be forced to pursue a course that they aren’t passionate about for fear of being otherwise unable to pay their education debts. Some people are natural computer wizards and because they can’t afford to go to computer engineering class, the country misses out on someone who could have been our Bill Gates.

Not to look far into many concepts, people have more opportunities for jobs and employment if they are educated, meaning they have access to material conditions which they need for a better life, such as health care and safety.

In conclusion, if someone from a poor background is educated, he or she can escape from the poverty cycle,they can advance society with jobs and employment as a result of higher education. If more people are highly educated, people will be more considerate, responsible, independent, and reliable. And that is the future we can only hope for.

patrick.buchana@newtimes.co.rw

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