Across the world, students are demanding free higher, university-level education.
Here is my question:
The thing with ‘free’ education though, is that someone still has to pay. If the student or their family does not foot the bill, someone else has to pay for the lecturers, books, buildings, electricity and the like.
The someone, in this case, is the state.
If the state (and the taxpayers by association, since the state is funded by taxpayers) pays for their education, should the state then not have the right to decide what they study?
Should the state not have the right to offer free education, but only for degrees for which there is a demand for new graduates, that will benefit society at large?
After all, the logical (not the emotional ‘fairness’ ideology which I will ignore for now) argument for ‘free’ education is that a better-educated population equals a better, more productive workforce, which in turn equals a better economy, which in turn benefits the benefactors of the free education; the state and the taxpayers.
The issue is, what happens when most of the students who hope to be recipients of this policy decide they want to study art history, for example, or basic psychology?
After all, a three year Bachelor of Arts degree seems like so much more fun than a lengthy medical or engineering programme.
But how many arts graduates does an economy really need? Does a surplus arts grad increase their own employability, or add value to the economy that sponsored their indulgence?
Surely, if raging baby boomer taxpayers have to pay for student education, they should get something out of the deal too; doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, etc.
Somehow I don’t think the student protestors will go for this logic though.
They want the free education – without any strings attached. Why should they have to pay back any sort of debt to society?