EDUCATION - whether tertiary, secondary, primary or kindergarten education – should be FREE.
Indeed Articles 28 and 29 the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (see: http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/crc.pdf ) make it clear that primary education should be free and that higher education should be “accessible to all”.
Every nation needs a complement of research-informed scholars (for security, industrial, economic and health reasons) but why should circa 20 year old young people have to pay for the infrastructure, the salaries and the research? Surely those primarily benefiting from the scholarly complement and its research – taxpayers, older (and sicker) people, industry, security-responsible government – should pay for this rather than relatively poorly paid part-time students or non-taxpaying full-time students.
Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) - properly run and costed Distance Learning - can provide maximum access to top quality courses at minimum cost - but is not even properly discussed because of entrenched self-interest and political and social cultures of lying by omission (unions want maximum cost to maximize academic employment; right-wing governments want high cost user-pays to entrench social inequity).
Thus the top US Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that at last count boasted about 63 Nobel Laureates (see: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/special/nobels.html ) puts all of its teaching materials on the Web for free - all that any sensible Government has to do is to insist that existing academics provide accrediting examinations at cost (e.g. $10 per semester course). Interestingly, potentially millions of Indian graduate tutors are available on-line at only $20 per hour (this wonderful phenomenon of ESO or Education Services Outsourcing now impacting significantly on education in the United States; see: http://www.hindu.com/edu/2006/12/25/stories/2006122500770300.htm ).
However real cost recovery, minimum cost, high quality Accredited Remote learning won't happen until young Australians, Americans, Britons etc insist that tertiary education should be FREE - and overcome their prevailing national political, media and academic cultures of entrenched corrupt self-interest and lying by omission.
I have been continuously associated with tertiary education since 1961 – variously as a student, researcher, teacher, part-time lecturer, or academic think-tank advisory board member. For hard-hitting and expert analyses of Accredited Remote Learning (ARL - ARL for ALL and ALL for ARL) generally ignored by corrupt, cowardly, lying Mainstream media and politicians see: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/4852/42/ , http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/27187 and http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s347931.htm - indeed for all kinds of things you won’t find reported in lying, racist, corrupt Mainstream media see: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/1375/247/ ).
Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) can electronically provide an off-campus, accredited, high quality, lecture-based course identical to that offered on-campus but at a cost of, say, about $100 per semester course - as opposed to the "full fee" on-campus cost that could range up to about $10,000 per semester course (or more at exclusive, full-feeing paying institutions) . The ARL system permits ready access to ANYONE who is disadvantaged by poverty, dislocation, disease, disability, family care responsibilities, full-time employment or geographical location. This system of maximum access, maximum quality higher education can also be applied with “full cost recovery” for the benefit of ANYONE in the world, whether a prosperous Westerner or ANYONE in the developing world with basic access to BOOKS and the WEB.
Further postings to this Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) Blog will provide detailed, documented accounts of ARL and related possibilities for essentially free tertiary education for every capable person in the World.Dr Gideon Polya
Credentials: Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently editing a huge book on global avoidable mortality - numerous articles on this matter can be found by a simple Google search for "Gideon Polya" and on his websites: http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gpolya/links.html and http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/ ).