The issue of free education has come to limelight few months back in Malaysia as the 13th General Election is coming soon next month. It has been something all students have been looking forward to and various political parties have come up with different mandates to attract student voters and fulfill their demands. The demand arises due to the fact that many students are still struggling to clear their student loan and find themselves stuck in the midst of other debts shortly after graduating.
What happens when a student graduates with the burden of student loan? The education fee everywhere varies with your choice of study and university. Courses like medicine and engineering would inevitably cost much more than language studies or management courses. On the other hand, you should pay more when you get enrolled in universities with high reputation as the value of your certificate and education increases with the quality of the studies they offer. So, at average a student who newly graduates would have to pay an amount of RM 50,000. Apart from that, graduate students face the burden of paying monthly installment for their vehicles and managing monthly expenses such as house rentals.
So, with an average pay of RM 3,000 for fresh graduates, they find it difficult to cope with the ridiculous cost of living while paying off their debts. Hence, the demand for free education has arisen. How important free education is and what expenses will it be implemented? Many countries in the European Union which provide free education tax their citizens on other fees like registration and administration.
What can be done to ease graduate students’ burden? What really matters in an education system? I’m a student with some amount of education loan to face after my graduation and I feel free education is not the issue that should top the priority of lawmakers and students. I feel that by enlarging the duration for loan payback and demolishing the interest taxed on student loans, students should be able to settle their debts after having a well-established job.
While free education is an idea to be celebrated, I feel fair education should be the focal point of lawmakers and those in the education sector. Fair education is still a dream never came true for many people all over the world. Discrimination is education still prevails through various forms such as race and gender. For women in the Middle East, getting a balanced and fair education like their brothers is still a struggle and a dream seems impossible. While in some other countries, chances to pursue higher education are brighter for students of a particular race and religion which dampen the spirit of other students who have done equally well in studies. Worse still, education is a privilege for the rich when the poor suffer from extreme poverty. Discrimination against gender, race, skin colour and religion when it comes to education has to come to an end. Only then a country will truly flourish and the best brains of a nation can emerge champions to serve the people better. After all, everyone is entitled to have the opportunity to learn. So, what difference can it make when we neglect fair education and fight for free education instead?