Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On Free Education

Since the Bawani issue rose up, the issue of free education coming from her inquiry in the forum rose up as well.

When people have already putting "facts" and "arguments" around on the social media, I guess I'll try to put a bit of my knowledge in it as well.

This is a very basic and classic debate. In principle, it's about Capitalism versus Socialism. If you don't feel like it is, and think I'm trying to red herring the topic, be my guess and read up on capitalism and socialism and prove to me I'm wrong.

There are many aspects of socialist policies when it comes to governing a country, one of it is free education. It's very clear especially in Nordic countries such as Sweden where education is free, pension is very high, and unemployed citizens still gets benefits from the government.

Sounds tempting, right?

In this type of classic debate, it's hard to strike a balance. Some argue that people will be complacent, while others argue that people will be better off since more people can get educated. Let's analyze deeper.

The Nordic countries have a very good economy. They have a fairly high GDP but sadly a very high unemployment rate, oh, not to mention higher tax rate than other countries.

Now, let's say we want to emulate this situation in Malaysia where many people want to adopt such policies:

1. Taxation rates must be increased because we can't just rely on pure assumption that our country have enough financial capability, especially when we know that we have pretty high debt. Surely, I don't think Malaysians like the idea of paying higher taxes.

2. Students might become complacent -- there's a high probability for it. We have seen the quality of our graduates declining due to being too complacent. "Hey, I'm in the university, I might as well enjoy myself etc." Free education will cause a higher level of complacency.

The thing is, there are a lot of things to consider. I'm not going against socialism, nor am I antagonizing socialist policies, but what I'm trying to say is we need to strike a balance. A pure capitalist or a pure socialist nation will not move forward.

Giving free education to everyone including people who don't want to study is a waste of money. Why not give it only to people who really works hard to study? Seriously, I'm studying in a university and I see how people waste resources.

Think clearly and don't politicize this issue.

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