That education should be free is something so intuitive
that most people forget about it after school, but it is and should always be.
Education is the one thing that can help you climb the social ladder faster than anything else. Knowledge is power, and it is also freedom. Freedom from prejudice, freedom from dependancy on others for facts. Freedom to think, and to will a new and better future for yourself. It is almost given that everyone who contributes to this site is able to read, something that we must be taught. Also the formal training we were given in logic, in mathematics, science, art, history, politics, technology, all of these things shape our minds, and free us from the whims of those who would rule our destinies.
As any black man in the ghetto knows, educate or profit, those are the only two ways out, and most would agree that of the two education is the harder to achieve and the more valuable. An educated man is able to articulate his thoughts in a manner that is both logical and persuasive, and he is able to better contribute to the society that created him, because he values what it has made him into.
We know that most crime is derived from frustration with economic and social conditions, and the best way to alleviate these is to allow those who would be caught in the worst of these access to a safe and free learning environment. This is true all over the world. We never stop learning, and the world would be a worse place if those things in general education were kept as the toys for the elite who could afford them.
Perhaps I am being too general, lets examine the fiasco of University fees.
Up until this point most people in what is known as the western world will have not had to pay for their education. University is seen by most companies as essential to the kind of high quality work that pays well. So it is desirable for many of the people who leave school. Lets focus on these people, and the reasons why they may or may not enter the realms of higher education. First lets skim off those who don't have the grades. Until they do they aren't really worth including in this particular discussion. Next there are those for whom University is unnecessary for their chosen career, you know, Army, Navy, Volunteering, Family Business etc.
But for most of the rest they want and are able to enter University Course of their choice, right?
Unless you can pay to go to a Good college, or have SPECTACULAR grades, you will have get out a student loan or work your way through your higher education. For me, this is a travesty. People who would enjoy the academic challenges of mental improvement now won't touch the University life, simply because when they leave they they face between $10,000 to $40,000 dollars in debt.
I am lucky, I entered the university system in the UK 1 year before they started to force people to pay student fees, and got rid of student grants. I watched as the numbers of students entering the years below me dwindled, and fell to dangerously low levels. I heard of a number of my friends who are more than intelligent enough to do any degree they wanted make up excuses and then admit that they couldn't pay the student debts off, because they are already commited to other debts.
The net affect of all this is that richer people have a wider choice of university places, whereas poorer people are the ones who are least likely to enter higher education. They are the ones who need it most. They are the ones who will be pressured on their mortgage when the interest rates fluctuate, they are the ones who are worst hit when jobs are cut because they are usually in low paid expendable positions, and they are the ones who can't afford houses in better neighbourhoods so they are forced to live in high crime areas. Surprising this mostly happens to black people in the west. It is almost like a punishment for trying to climb the social ladder and getting uppity. The attitude is quite prevalent in the middle of England, and has been encountered many times, the world over. For centuries the ruling elites of the world denied the value of a public education system, simply because they knew that someone who is educated can challenge their authority and question their decisions.
Anyway, the free education system ensures a common set of values and an esteem for thought and rationality that can help prevent and diffuse the tensions between peoples and cultures. In this age of high tech, and information overload, do we really want to have to pay for the tools to allow our children to live at their best? Our generation and those above us may have betrayed us, but we should do better, we inherited the world, lets change it for the better and enjoy the laughter of children who know they won't be crippled by debt even before their first job.