Free education ; the answer for the world’s poorest people ?

india edThe Indian Parliament has approved a bill that seeks to guarantee free and compulsory education for all children aged between six and 14. The Bill brings to reality the provision for everyone’s right to education included in the Indian Constitution.

But does free education necessarily translate into quality education for everyone?

Under this Bill, the Government will set up new state-run neighbourhood schools. In a country where more than a third of the population is illiterate, this is being called a ”historic” and ”landmark” legislation.

But does free education necessarily translate into quality education for everyone?

Governments around the world have tried to implement free education with varying degrees of success. Countries in Africa that promise free primary education are faced with the difficulties of getting qualified teachers, course material, and infrastructure. The education received has been called ‘sub-standard’.

Do those from poorer backgrounds deserve free education or a quality education? Is any education a good thing? Or does paying for schooling ensure a better future?

23 Responses to “Free education ; the answer for the world’s poorest people ?”

  1. 1 cyd7
    August 5, 2009 at 21:55

    Why can’t they have BOTH? oF COURSE education is needed in life. Just because they are poor should not even bring up the question as to where or not the poor need to be educated. They are the one’s who need it the MOST! It is their right to be educated, and get the best quality education they can get. They will be the people who could change India’s poverty. Change the government.

    But these children should also work on their own, by reading books. IF they cannot read, find someone who can teach them. Parents too, should learn to read and write. It is never, ever too late to learn what you don’t know today.

    I think this question sounds a bit discriminating against people forced into poverty.

    Charlotte, North Carolina

  2. 2 Konstantin in Germany
    August 5, 2009 at 22:56

    It’s a great start. Better poor education than no education. After a time, better quality education than poor education. Let’s hope the quality education comes as soon as it can.

    btw. free doesn’t necessarily mean poor education. it comes down to how commited teachers are.

    • 3 Helen
      August 7, 2009 at 01:36

      If they are taught what they need to learn it will be a helpful education. The question of free or paying for it brings in another element. There is a population in India that is not poor and I don’t know what their education is in their economic system. Buyt there is also a large population in poverty. How do they get out of poverty?I would say if people in poverty must pay for an education,I don’t know how to logically assume they will get one.

  3. August 5, 2009 at 23:14

    I am very much in favor of educating 3rd-world poor per se. But the most salient thing about education is that it leads to a higher standard of living, which in turn means access to a greater share of the “goodies —” cars, consumer electronics, etc. The CURRENT statistics on the manufacture, use and disposal of “goodies” on this planet are already enough to cause cardiac arrest. Use of energy & raw materials, greenhouse gas creation, vast toxic dumping grounds — not to mention the juice to keep it all powered… I’m a staunch caretaker type, a real people person. But any dialogue about FEEDING, EDUCATING and RAISING LIVING STANDARDS of the world’s masses HAS TO BE INFORMED BY GLOBAL POPULATION CONTROL, as well as many other mitigating factors. Even if population were held constant from this day forth, this planet would still be in a doomsday scenario re the standard of living humans seek, education accesses and technology provides. Any ideas out there?

  4. August 5, 2009 at 23:18

    Not sure if this is the right way to do this…but I just left a comment and notice (after the fact) that the name is not Cindy M. Blalck but Cindy M. BLACK. Could you modify or take note? Thank you.

  5. 6 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 6, 2009 at 01:39

    The world’s poor need free quality education in order for them do rise out of their present predicament. Free usually means that the quality of the education is sub-standard. A proper education system requires alot of time, expertise and money which are difficult to get in poor countries.

  6. 7 RightPaddock
    August 6, 2009 at 02:38

    It is imperative that India educate its people. It can not keep slicing rural areas into smaller and smaller parcels of land so as to bequeath a parcel to each surviving son. Education will help overcome that issue by allowing people to live by means other than subsistence agriculture, this will inevitably reduce the size of families and over time the population.

    India should avoid policies similar to China’s one child policy (OCP). An OCP will further increase the gender imbalance and exacerbate the phenomena of having large numbers of people with no extended family – i.e. no siblings, no cousins, no uncles, no aunties etc.
    Perhaps a more effective method of dealing with overpopulation and land ownership reform would be for India & China to transform their societal structures from ones based on patriarchal monogamous and/or polygynous families to societies that are based on matriarchal polyandrous families.

    The relevant issue regarding matriarchies & patriarchies is not who decides what color car to buy, but who owns and along which line property is passed to succeeding generations. Polyandry is the form of polygamy in which a woman is married to two or more husbands at the same time. Polygyny is the form of polygamy in which one man is married to two or more wives at the same time.

    Now there’s a topic that could engender a lively debate and ruffle a few feathers.

  7. 8 Dennis Junior
    August 6, 2009 at 02:56


    Yes, I think that Poor Children need access to free and also, a quality education…Since, it will produce a better future for the society at large….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  8. 9 Suresh in New Jersey
    August 6, 2009 at 04:34

    India has finite resources and a a large population. Which means pretty much everything that has value – whether it is a piece of cake or a seat at a good school – has many claimants, aspirants and buyers.

    The poor are disenfranchised because they do not have the currency to acquire these resources consistently. Education is one of these goods, and it is becomes a currency of influence and of income, which grant social mobility to the poor.

    Of course, there are different types of mobility. Moving from subsistence to a regular income requires a basic education. That is problem number one right now. So if education is basic, that doesnt mean it isnt good.

    The current program is about primary, not secondary education. The seconday and tertiary education systems are what provide mobility to the upper echelons.

  9. 10 T
    August 6, 2009 at 05:04

    Everybody deserves a free and quality education. I speak from 10 years of teaching experience.

  10. 11 Dennis Junior
    August 6, 2009 at 05:17

    To my comments: I also, think; How the Indian Government going to be able to get qualify teachers to teach the students…..

    ~Dennis Junior~

  11. 12 Tan Boon Tee
    August 6, 2009 at 05:33

    The world’s poor must have their basic needs of life properly met first before talking about education. The top priority is to provide them with sufficient food, clean shelter and right medical care.

    Only then, free-cum-quality education works, and it will certainly work well.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:48

    A nations peoples and its natural environment are its greatest assets. Nations striving for quality and sustainable economies in future should place emphasis on educating their masses. In contrast, most countries invest billions in militaries that do not employ everyone but a few select members of society. The burden of education is left on the shoulders of oft impoverished of its masses who are constantly losing the battle due to the ever increasing costs of education where quality is only available in private schools. Currently quality education is getting out of reach for many and is only available to few because even the middle class is losing the battle given the economic crisis which unfortunately might be with us for a long time.

    This is no bragging really. Where would China and the other Asian tigers be had their visioned leaders failed to grasp this opportunity of investing in their populations?

  13. 14 VictorK
    August 6, 2009 at 14:36

    Nothing is free. If a country has the collective resources to pay for universal education, very well. If it doesn’t, then the issue of need vs quality becomes irrelevant. Or is the hidden assumption that rich countries should pay for education in poor countries?

    Nobody deserves or has a right to anything other than what can be accomplished via either their individual efforts or in their collective capacity as a nation. And nobody has a right to expect benefits while others shoulder the burden of meeting the costs of those benefits.

  14. 16 Tom K in Mpls
    August 6, 2009 at 14:45

    One of the basic needs *is* education. For any society to grow, first you need a stable government. Next you build a sound infrastructure. This includes sanitation to stop disease, electricity for industry, transportation for trade and schools for health and a functional work force. No one aspect is more important than the other. These needs will help develop a broad, stable economy. This is the only way to end poverty.

  15. 17 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    August 6, 2009 at 16:46

    As long international community/UN,particularly the developed world turn blind eyes to anti-illiteracy campaign in the third world countries,the more the conflicts and over dependent by these x counties since much of problems that we`re facing right here are due to the rampant illiteracy amongst our communities if not the continents….ILLITERACY CAMPAIGN SHOULD BE ENLARGED GLOBALLY NOT ONLY TO FIGHTS ILLITERACY BUT TO PREPARE FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE & EQUALITY IN EDUCATION FOR ALL.

  16. 18 patti in cape coral
    August 6, 2009 at 17:37

    I agree that poor education is better than none, but I don’t think this will necessarily be the case. It is hard to learn when you are hungry though. I’m not sure what should come first, does more education lessen hunger, or do you learn more when you are not hungry?

    I also think that a lot of education can be self-directed, and people can supplement school easily if books and other learning materials are available. I think it may be too soon to think about that, though.

  17. 19 scmehta
    August 8, 2009 at 14:17

    Free education up to class 10, mixed with vocational training, is the answer.

  18. 20 Sean Mooney
    August 8, 2009 at 20:48

    The Indian nation shoud be educated not to have so many children that in turn get advertised by the BBC and other stations showing how desperately poor and corrupt thei government and institutions are. Its always the poor class in European countries who have to face the constant news items of how poor people from the sub-continent are. Do the BBC ever show in a constant manner how the people of the Uk are ?? Do Indians understand or care about the homeless and desperate conditions in which the people of the UK live in??

    I dont think so.

  19. 21 Jim Newman
    August 9, 2009 at 02:03

    Hello again.
    I supose that before answering the question one should ask oneself- what has education done for me?
    For some it is the doorway to work and a secure future.
    For some it is a means of deciding who should or should not be censored in a public debating forum.
    For some it is a means of pointing the people in the same direction.
    For some it is a sort of hiding place.
    For some it is an excuse for not thinking about things.
    Education is a lot of things but it won’t stop people from being poor because poverty is a matter of environement and social structure.

  20. 22 Sean Mooney
    August 10, 2009 at 12:59

    I like the idea of a general “free” education, but how much does it cost??
    Would an education and especially a “free” education unburden the poorest people from oppression in whatever country or society them are born into?
    People who can afford to send their children to the “best” schools to receive the “best” education, cost the parents a stake in a Swiss or offshore bank account. They in turn, can imagine that with such an education undertaken, can lord it over the “peasants”, those who do not have the “right connections”, and or money. Does the mass population of China and India and Africa, have access to “free” education? Do the people of these countries all aspire to reach the dizzy heights of Oxford/Cambridge? Where will they get the money from? What about the peasants of Europe? Where, when,and who payes for the “free” education of the overcrowded classrooms, when even with the luxury of “teaching assistants” per classroom, children fall behind. Children in the UK are educated “free” depending on where you live (postcode) available places one can afford to move to, and the parents connections. The rest of the children just have to put up with whatever is sent to educated them, bearing in mind all the extreems of culture, values and belief systems in place at the time of writing this item.

  21. October 12, 2009 at 11:14

    Everbody wishes to aquire education. How it can be possible ?It should be made free for all particularly for poor.

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