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Free university education in Europe and everywhere

else: pros and cons

It almost a commonplace adage among people in almost all parts of the world that education is a
universal right. Education, most would argue, as a right that could demanded from the state is a
universal commodity that should be made accessible to all. In most countries, it is not uncommon to
find some countries which implement a state policy of free education in all levels. Whether or not this
policy will bring about dividends in the long-term for the well-being of the state has been a subject
matter of debate among policy-makers, law-makers, economists and statesmen.

In Europe, Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, to mention a few members of European Union has
long abandoned the charging of tuition fees to university students. This policy has enabled
practically all students from the secondary level to pursue higher education free of charge. Some
states are even more generous in terms of promoting universal tertiary education by granting
universities with huge endowments which universities can use to attract students not only from within
but also from without. Having said that, most universities in the European Union have come to attract
bright and brilliant students from all parts of the world to pursue graduate studies in major European
universities through some attractive scholarship packages. This makes education in the higher level
in the European continent a right which is accessible to all who is interested to widen his intellectual
and professional horizons. Verily, education becomes a medium through which people from other
countries free themselves from the bondage of ignorance. They can be likened to a bird who is
willing to search for a long flight to build their destiny. Once they have found it, they find freedom,
complete freedom which is entirely different from the former situation they were in.

It almost a commonplace adage among people in almost all parts of the world that education is a
universal right. Education, most would argue, as a right that could demanded from the state is a
universal commodity that should be made accessible to all. In most countries, it is not uncommon to
find some countries which implement a state policy of free education in all levels. Whether or not this
policy will bring about dividends in the long-term for the well-being of the state has been a subject
matter of debate among policy-makers, law-makers, economists and statesmen.

In Europe, Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, to mention a few members of European Union has
long abandoned the charging of tuition fees to university students. This policy has enabled
practically all students from the secondary level to pursue higher education free of charge. Some
states are even more generous in terms of promoting universal tertiary education by granting
universities with huge endowments which universities can use to attract students not only from within
but also from without. Having said that, most universities in the European Union have come to attract
bright and brilliant students from all parts of the world to pursue graduate studies in major European
universities through some attractive scholarship packages. This makes education in the higher level
in the European continent a right which is accessible to all who is interested to widen his intellectual
and professional horizons. Verily, education becomes a medium through which people from other
countries free themselves from the bondage of ignorance. They are like a fountain of human capital
which can provide both the government and the market the needed manpower when required by the
demands of times and circumstances.

Furthermore, it can also be commented that free university education brings about a socialized
approach to distributing the wealth of the nations. In capitalistic countries like the United States of
America, the capitalistic system really rewards the market and its people for being too enterprising
and innovative in bringing about money in the circulation. But the problem is people in the lower level
of the society who are deprived of even the basic means to access the social welfare of the state
remains marginalized and uncared for. By bringing education in the grassroots level, the poor now
has the chance to improve their lot, break the vicious cycle of poverty and eventually free
themselves from the grasp of the very miserable vortex of rat race they found themselves in.
Education is definitely a very important vehicle of carrying citizens from the poor sector to a higher
plane. In most countries like the United States where education is primarily a private undertaking,
education is so prohibitive that not everybody gets the chance to study in universities of their choice.
Moreover, some students who really struggled to arm themselves with good education ended up in
great debt after graduation to the extent that even after they have left the portals of their Alma Mater
and have now entered the world of work are still paying the debts they have incurred. It is not
unusual to see Americans being in debt after a university education and this leaves them less
empowered in terms of improving their supposed condition.

I would say that the situation in Europe is a lot different. University education in some European
countries is free and it is after all a right which can be demanded from the state as a matter of right.
In some countries such as Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, education is rarely a private
venture. The states give huge subsidies to universities and research institutes to sustain their
operations. Students are highly encouraged to aim higher by pursuing graduate and post-graduate
education in their universities. Others are given the opportunity to study abroad to enable the
circulation of brain to be continuous and consistently maintained. This policy being implemented by
most European states is being questioned by some to be unsustainable in the long-run. The critics
argue that it would drain the states coffers in the long-term and that this socialist-inclined policy will
not be sustainable in the long-run.

In my own opinion, free university education can be a good investment in the long-term. If the state
provides free university education to all its people, it would greatly democratize education.
Education can be more popularized. Some decades ago, education appears to be an elitist privilege
that only those who can afford can actually go for a college education. Rich and affluent families in
the society are the only few privileged ones to send their children to school. This empowers them to
assume important political, social and economic positions in the community. If the state prioritizes
the granting of free university education, it would mean giving the poor the chance to climb the
higher echelon of the society. It will be a game changer in a number of ways since it would enable
the poor and bright students to avail what could have been available only to the rich. More than that,
it would make education a right common to all. The poor sector of the society could have the chance
to empower themselves and share in the task of nation-building.

Looking at the exemplar of Singapore, a tiny Asian nation which is deprived of natural resources but
with good leadership, excellent governance and of course high human capital, they were able to
transform themselves from a Third Country to a First Country state, the best example ever that could
be cited in Asian continent. Singapore can be regarded as a tale of great nation which is worthy of
admiration by its neighboring countries in Asia. The Singaporeans must have been aware at the
early stage of their nationhood that a nation like them where there is paucity of natures endowment,
the same can be compensated with the alacrity of investing in human capital, a model that has long
been recognized in most countries in the West.

The national hero of the Philippines, Dr. Jose P. Rizal once quoted that the youth of the hope of the
motherland. If the state will provide the catalysts for these youth to be effective and efficient
members of the society, they can indeed be the youth of the hope of the country. If they are armed
by practical skills and equipped with knowledge and values that can only be possible through
education, they would be a most potent tool in the countrys march to progress. The youth surely
takes the torch from the elders in building the state and in bridging the gap between the haves and
the have-nots. With an educated youth comes a good human capital investment who will sooner or
later take the cudgels of responsibility of bringing about positive changes that will bring the greatest
benefits for the greatest number of people possible. Education is truly the torch that provides
enlightenment and that gives the citizens an accessible medium of enlightened and informed
citizenry.

Undoubtedly education can be the key to success, as one cliche goes. I know it would sound like a
platitude but if given the chance to improve themselves, a great number of people are indeed
desirous of taking the challenge ahead. Free university education will bring dividends in the long-
term and that dividends can bring about residual benefits also and can be felt in succeeding
generations to come.

The state, like a ship, is ready to sail towards progress with free university education. By providing
the people the capacity to fish for themselves, they would no longer an entirely dependent populace
from the government. With free university education, the people becomes more empowered and
capacitated to be partners of the government towards positive change.