Should the government pay for tertiary education?

Author : teriann

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

The above statement was made by the late renowned South African activist and president Nelson Mandela.

His words are significant especially to our small island home.  The cost of many of the university programmes that are offered currently are placed far above the reach of the average Jamaican.  As a result many do not pursue higher education.

After five years in high school, even the most promising student has to find a job before they can even consider returning to complete their education.

The average cost of a tertiary education at one of the more popular tertiary institutions in Jamaica is between $250,000 – $350,000 per year for a three year undergraduate degree programme.  Of course, this depends on the programme being pursued as some are noticeably more expensive.

How does the government help?

Well there are scholarships available as well as some subsidiary considerations given to students by the government. But what about very low income families how will their children afford a college education?

There is a programme currently in place called Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) which assists those who qualify with their expenses at government primary and secondary schools. This programme also allows students to access a warm meal.

So should the programme extend to funding their tertiary education?

There is currently much debate over this issue and there are valid arguments on both sides. In an ideal world, it should be possible for everyone to have the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Realistically though, it is a hefty price tag and it might just be above what can be squeezed out of the government’s coffers. So while the debate rages on what’s your take on the issue?

Should the government pay for PATH beneficiaries to obtain free tertiary education?

Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner Online Writer

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16 Responses to “Should the government pay for tertiary education?”

  1. guest says:

    yes the government should. this will help the student and the country, even if that person is trained by the gov. and they go overseas.They will gain valuable knowledge, and might also send 2 or more people to school through remittances.

  2. Great post. Thank you.

  3. Good article, thanks.

  4. michelle neale says:

    No I do not agree. The government should be responsible for basic, primary and secondary education. Tertiary education is the responsibility of the individual and his/her parents. When the Government take this responsibility on they or the country have no benefit to receive because often time it is a challenge to get the students who benefited to give back to the country. Take for example what is going on the the hospitals today many of the doctors benefited from what Micheal Manley implemented in the 70′s and try visiting one of those public hospitals to get any attention, be he prepared to stay the entire day and still no guarantee that you will get through.

  5. Mnandi says:

    No, i also disagree, tertiary education is a privallage not compulsary, how would you feel if you paid your ass off to get through universaty and someone else gets it handed to them without deserving or even wanting to go school, if your not going to work hard to get what you want then you dont deserve to be there

  6. Isedora says:

    Yes…and and the recipients should be bonded to work in Jamaica for a number of years. Study should be targeted to areas which meet the country’s need.

  7. enquiring mind says:

    “Government is not the solution to the problem… Government IS the problem”.

    Stop relying on Government like a crutch!

  8. Saint_NYC says:

    A sign of a compassionate society is to provide ladders based on the merits of the individual. Without these ladders, then we make our poor or even middle class – a permanent state.

    Two questions: 1) who should provide the ladder? and 2) which ladder should be chosen?

    For the first, the individual (rich philanthropist?), the corporate sector (profitable companies?) or lastly the government? The likelihood of provider of “the ladder” falls in the lap of the government.

    For the second – the type of ladder – we can look to other countries for inspiration. For example, Russia and Singapore offer a bonded program for their best students to study overseas and return for X number of years.

    Australia offers yet another – savings accounts that can be dedicated to education. Similar to NHT, Social Security – mandated savings accounts for all citizens that can be accessed for qualified colleges.

  9. Sachette says:

    Knowledge is power and continued education is pivotal to the growth of any country. Therefore, the government must make provisions to enhance this. In the USA student loans are provided to students and they are given a tax break from the interest they have to repay. While I agree that the government must do more, teritiary institions must push students to be entrepreneurs. Many billionaries in the USA started their businesses out of garages. Look at Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who started his business in his dorm room without a doubt has made a big impact on billions across the world and has made this industry a cashcow. We Jamaicans are talented and very driven we need to also look at our own bob-sled team. The team has been entering a winter sports competition although we are from the tropics – we must apply this brilliance to education and translate it into niche markets that can give us the scarce financial resources we need.

  10. Leteria D Blake says:

    In today’s challenging economic climate it is a major struggle for Governments around the world to meet the demands of society with education being a major challenge. The question is perhaps very thought-provoking because if the Government even had the will , the resources are certainly not there.
    What government needs to do is to broaden the scope of the Students Loan Bureau and make loans more accessible to a wider cross-section of our society. In this way more people will be able to afford their tertiary level of education. We would be expecting too much of Government, as we so often do, and we as a society should expect and demand government funding of our education up to the secondary level, but we must personally accept responsibility for our tertiary education .

  11. CJ says:

    The government already pays for the lion share of the cost of education. That is enough. Parents need to plan better for their children’s education. Recently there was a really great public forum teaching parents how to better plan for their education. Those interested can view information form the forum on youtube:

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