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Education is a way to understand the real world better and the debate usually emerges because of high tuition fees and the growth of student loan debts. Whether this education should be provided to university students free of charge or not is one of the most debated topics in the world as well as in Namibia. It is a contemporary issue, which is discussed globally. Education is important for one’s social and academic well-being. It is a survival tool used to improve ourselves and performs better in society and nowadays, people need education in order to survive in this fast-growing evolution.
Everyone understands the value of education and on that account, the competition to get into the highly-rated universities is very severe. Education at a university level should not be free of charge, but again these fees should not be as immensely high as they are in so many countries.
To start with, education being free means that students can pursue their interests.
Free education leaves students with the luxury of choice in pursuing their careers of choice. In this era with tertiary education fees skyrocketing every year, not everyone can afford to pay. There are many young people from poor families who are very smart and want to continue with their studies and pursue their dreams at various universities, but their families do not have the means to pay for them. With education being free at this level, at least no one with a dream to further their studies independent of their economic background will be left out.
Free tertiary education may also be vital as students will not be required to take out student loans. In a context where higher education is becoming increasingly expensive to the extent those students and their families have to take on high amounts of debt to be able to afford it (Gayardon, 2018). However if education is being offered for free at the tertiary level, then students will not be bothered about taking student loans to facilitate their education all the way to the university and this ensures that students remain debt-free.
On the other hand, free tertiary education may not be as good as it sounds. There are many universities across the World, both state and private ones, which offer a variety of study fields. Assuming that all these universities were to be free of charge, then this way everyone would apply for them and after they have successfully completed their studies, they would start looking for jobs. The biggest problem will then be that free education may work against the system in that there would be too many graduates at the same time while the industry offers much fewer employment opportunities (Gayardon, 2018) and with the way the economy has been going through many hiccups not only in Namibia but worldwide only a few of the graduates would get jobs, therefore, the unemployment rate will be on the rise and this does not help the economy but rather worsen the situation. This is not far from what is already happening in the world especially in Namibia, even if the university charge fees for studying, a lot of youth are currently unemployed.
Moreover, unlike primary and secondary education, tertiary education is costly. At the tertiary level, for a lecture to take place, expensive things are needed, from equipment to human labor and these things need money. The overcrowding caused by free education means that students will be forced to use the already limited resources and this will end up causing a strain on the resources which may not be enough, hence the quality of education will be reduced.
Free tertiary education may also mean an increase in government expenditure. Free education may be free for the students but is charged to the government (Gayardon, 2018). This means that the government may be forced to keep borrowing money to finance free education in the country. Free education at this level may furthermore cause an increase in taxation. Free education may cause an increase in taxes by the government to help in financing the government and this may reduce people’s disposable incomes. According to the University of Namibia (UNAM) Vice-Chancellor Kenneth Matengu has challenged the concept of free higher education, arguing that the working class will have to foot the bill (Eliaser, 2018) . He further added that somewhere, in some way, someone is paying for it, either in higher or more broadly spread taxes or in decreased services in other areas.” Even in countries where tertiary education is said to be free, it not the true situation. Those countries that claim to have “free” education also have very high taxes to make it happen. (Eliaser, 2018).“If people want free tertiary education, they must be prepared and be ready to pay higher taxes because there is nothing for free. Somebody has to pay for it.
To sum up, the issue of free tertiary education has both positive and negative sides. Since there are those young people who are really smart and want to pursue their studies but they cannot afford to pay, they should be given that chance to study for free. However, with rich people and those who have better economic backgrounds, education for them should not be made free. This will help in reducing the economical differences in society as poor people will also get good jobs at the end of the day no more poor remain poor and rich become richer.
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