There was a time when education is regarded as a mandatory phase in life. It is education that brings about progress. To train the mind with skills and knowledge so that the frontiers of tomorrow may be explored is the raison d’etre of education. Without education, society stagnates, even regresses and dies. The coveted university endeavour allows the next generation to dream of a better tomorrow. Hence education is an investment of human resource. But who is responsible to provide for fair opportunities to those able to move on to a tertiary education?
Some say it is the government who is responsible to provide education opportunities because it is a valuable investment that will ultimately benefit society. This argument is unfortunately no longer in vogue. Governments in many first world countries have abdicated that task, leaving it to those who can afford to study shoulder the cost of tertiary education. Asians in particular, put education as one of the highest priorities in life. Parents toiled and save to see to it that their children get a chance to university. With today’s high cost of education, that costs a fortune.
In many western countries, parents are less inclined to pay for their children’s education. Neither does the government. No one desires to shoulder that responsibility, leaving it to those who embarks on that journey to do it alone – through loans. The result is a new generation of graduates starting life with a mountain of debt. To make matters worse, weak economic outlook deprives graduates from finding appropriate jobs. A cascading mountain of education debt keeps piling up as jobless graduates feel the strain of debt that seems to be impossible to pay.
My Budget 360 shared this story:
The student debt epidemic is spiraling out of control and the public is becoming more aware of the situation. $1.3 trillion in student debt is now outstanding. This is already a problem with nearly one out of three loans in repayment already in some form of delinquency. Clearly if you are not paying back an obligation there is some sort of underlying problem. But like most of the epic debt bubbles, people are slowly coming to the realization that most of this debt will never be paid back. Consider it a forever loan. The problem with this mentality is that student loans are now becoming a giant part of federal assets. In fact student debt now makes up nearly half of federally owned financial assets. Again, I remind you that nearly one out of three loans in repayment is in some form of delinquency.
This is the current state of affairs we are witnessing in many countries. A point of no return has been reached. What future is there for this generation of young job seekers? Perhaps it is time to rethink what education entails. Beyond mere academic fulfilment, if formal education cannot provide the skills needed by society, then the road ahead is dire indeed.
Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.