This is a submission to the 2016 Tsogo Alumni Society Essay Competition. The essay is the learners work and has gone through some minimal editing for presentation.
Author: Tshiamo Morokane
Grade: 11D, Tsogo Secondary School
Title: Is there such a thing as “free education”? Could this “free education” be achieved by non-fee paying schools (like Tsogo Secondary) and “free” higher education as espoused by the #FeesMustFall movement?
Nobel Peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, said that “education is the birthright of every child and that the denial of education is totally unacceptable”. He said this in context to the cases of child labour that were prevailing in India and because he saw education as the silver bullet to alleviate this unacceptable situation.
Many countries across the world agree with Satyarthi, and many who came before him who held the same ideal. Countries like Brazil, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Germany, France and Scotland to mention a few have implemented various systems of free education across the different education levels. Some have had the ability to offer this same opportunity to international students as well. Countries like China are taking strides to follow suit as they have also seen the benefits of an educated society. Although the right to education should be a universal entitlement, what does real free education actually cost? How much does it really amount to if we had to count, add and quantify it? I looked up the definition of the word “free” in the dictionary to fully understand what I am writing about. Two definitions stood out for me; “without cost or payment” and “remove something undesirable or restrictive from”. The second definition stood out for me, the most. Maybe the idea of a system of free education as espoused by the #FeesMustFall movement is something that can be achieved in our lifetime; the moment we remove all that restricts our thoughts about this seemingly pie-in-the-sky idealistic system.