Accessibility to Universities and College Education

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Some humans view universities or college education as some thing that belongs to a few individuals in the society especially for these students who are good in academics. Others argue that greater education should be available to anyone who wishes to study. Some human beings who support that education is a primary need as well as a human right. On the contrary, these who support that it should solely be made accessible to a few claims that universities and college educations require resources, which are confined in nature such as expenditure by the government on infrastructure, personnel, and lookup centers among others. Amidst these opinions, there has been a lot of contradicting views; therefore, the question remains; should higher education be accessible to everyone? It is the view of this paper that higher education, in this case, access to college and university should not be a privilege of the few in the society, but an opportunity provided to each person with the determination to achieve a degree or diploma.

Reasons Why Education Should Be Made Accessible for Everyone

Psychological Factors

In the modern world, university and college education has been valued a lot, because through college diplomas and university degrees, students have acquired jobs that have aided them to meet their daily needs in life. There have been plenty of heated debates where some society members consider higher education as irrelevant and a waste of time, while others have viewed higher education as important and a necessity to become successful in life. As McGovern an author and education professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA notes, some people have considered higher education as costly and irrelevant in the society, and some of the decisions have been made purely based on culture norms and uncertainty in future success (121). However, it is important to analyze why higher education is relevant in the current times.

Higher education should be accessible to all, and no one should be discriminated based on their gender, religion, physical characteristics, socio-economic background, ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation or beliefs. In addition, access to knowledge should not be limited to a few since knowledge is power and a fundamental requirement in life. According to Chan & Lin, the government should ensure that no policies enacted should restrict anyone from accessing higher education since it is a violation of human right and fails to promote safe and healthy learning atmosphere. Higher education gives people a chance to realize their full potential. It also reduces the feeling of rejection based on the low level of education that a person has attained and the income earned. If all in the society get access to higher education, they will be able to deal with most of the problems that the country is facing such as inequality, poverty, and economic decline as opposed to those who did not get the education (288).

Most people argue that some individuals should not go to higher education institutions since they are not intelligent enough to go through college. However, despite this claim almost convincing to be true, it is also true that people always overestimate the amount of intelligence required for a person to successfully complete college education. According to Martinez, a current Stanford University professor, in spite of a certain level of intelligence being crucial in the completion of a bachelor_x0092_s degree, successful completion is more of being present in school always and being persistent (78). Consequently, based on these facts, higher education opportunities should be availed to all and intelligence or previous academic achievements should not be the only factors taken into consideration.

Economic Factors

An Italian researcher Moretti, however, argues that equal access to university and college education gives people an equal chance to be stable, foster economic growth and encourage national economic competitiveness (130). In fact, the educated in the society get a better paycheck as opposed to those who reached the high school level .In addition, people who have attained higher education are able to move up in terms of their income hence it is a bridge between the social classes. Besides, the number of jobs that require skills from higher education is increasing on a daily basis and hence the rationale for equal access to the education for all.

According to a research that was conducted in the United States in 2013 by American Institutes for Research (AIR), as reported by Owen, Stephanie, & Sawhill, it was discovered that a high school graduate in the United States earns $ 30,000 while the return to each additional year spent in higher education institution is ten percent. Therefore, the earnings of a college graduate increase by $3,000 every year and hence by the end of four years the growth will have accumulated to $12,000. In addition, the earning premium linked to a college or university degree grows continuously through the lifetime. Thus, by the age of 50 years, the gap between the earnings of a high school graduate and a college graduate will have grown to around $46,500, and the total premium will have increased too, $570,000 for a college graduate over a lifetime. These statistics justifies why everyone should be given a chance to attain a college or university degree (2).

Higher education plays a very crucial role in providing the necessary conditions for economic and social mobility and assisting level the playing field. To rectify disadvantages, inequalities, and lack of opportunities, the university and college admissions policies must reflect these complex realities of life and offer access to higher education to everyone. The policies have to take into consideration some factors such as levels of disability, income levels, races, gender and geographic location. A consideration of these factors will give equal opportunities to all for higher education, create healthy diversity and hence aid in providing a pathway to economic and social mobility.

Social and Cultural Factors

Equal chances for higher education makes individuals achieve their dreams and have better living standards. If education is made accessible to all through payment of tuition fee by the government, it will ensure that people are given a chance in life to be what they want to be in future. A person can become a lawyer, a doctor, teacher, and an engineer among others without worrying about the issue of tuition fee. Besides, the exception of paying any fee will help in decision-making whereby anyone can access higher education. For that reason, people in the society will be able to achieve their goals and hence higher standards of living. In addition, they will prosper; attain reachable opportunities, which in turn make a prosperous society. On the contrary, Mercer et al. notes that, failure to give equal opportunities to access higher education makes a society remain backward and depict the society as ailing. Further higher education for all helps people in the community to be more financially stable and secure and helps them enjoy the several aspects of life and feel more accomplished intellectually (44).

According to Neito, a Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy and Culture at the School of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst, when all individuals in the community go to college and universities, there is more trust and unity in the society hence it is beneficial to the society as a whole. Education instills a sense of nationalism and solidarity and makes people view themselves as a collective unit with the aim of propelling their country forward (22). In addition, knowledge gained assists individuals in the society to be more empowered in all dimensions be it financial, social or otherwise. Consequently, education should be treated as a human right and not a privilege and therefore the government should provide higher education from all and not to only those who qualify for it based on their academic performance.

According to Chan & Lin, another benefit of giving people equal chances to access higher education is that it improves the lives of individuals and aids in smooth learning of the society. This is because education makes people aware of their capabilities and helps them apply the knowledge attained in various areas to community activities such as interpersonal trust, voting, and volunteering in community-based projects (293). Education for all also equips the members of the society with the necessary abilities to live more fulfilling and fuller lives and improve day-to-day living. Since education leads to happiness and in turn, this happiness increases the life expectancy, better mental health, and physical health. When all attain college or university education, the rates of suicide cases are very few since educated people rarely commit suicide. In addition, the educated are more mature, lead lives that are more meaningful and therefore are inspired to keep living and achieve their goals and dreams.

Consequently, giving equal chances to all without discrimination or restrictions, gives people equal chances of getting employment in future. Conversely, restricting higher education to a few based on individual characteristics such as academic performance, race, ethnicity or disabilities denies many people formal employment and therefore could lead to increase in social crimes. It is, therefore, an injustice to humanity to prevent people from accessing higher education since it directly relates to the holistic development of a better person as well as the society and better quality of life.

Except for the monetary benefits, there are other benefits that students get from going to colleges or universities, which are important although hard to measure. It is evident that extra education leads to improvement of the overall wellbeing of individuals. Some of the aspects that are affected by additional education include health, family and marriage life, social interactions, job satisfaction and parenting among others. In addition, higher education is associated with some social benefits, which includes better political participation and reduced crime. Consequently, making higher education accessible to all builds a community full of good overall and self-actualized individuals. Besides, the society is more peaceful with better social interactions and reduced crime rates.

Mercer et al. state that access to higher education makes people more enlightened on various issues relating to the society that leads to peaceful coexistence. Some of the areas where people get enlightened on are the issue of religious tolerance, racial intolerance, and gender-based discrimination and roles (45). By the time a person leaves high school, they are not enlightened on most of the issues mentioned above. However, through meaningful interactions and additional knowledge imparted to the students in higher education institutions, the issues become clearer.

Consequently according to Neito, most college graduates are able to mingle with individuals without being divided by their differences (23). For instance, educated people to understand the issue of gender roles better and accept women involvement in the armed forces more readily than high school graduates accept. In addition, a college degree holder who has studied sociology and psychology is in a better position to deal with sexual tolerance and interact with gay and lesbians. In addition, males and females relate better in colleges than they do in high school. Further additional education equips youths with knowledge about moral values and helps them avoid social evils such as drug abuse. Therefore, access to higher education creates more incorporating individuals and hence more peaceful coexistence and tolerance.

Technological Factors

As the world continues to develop, there is automation and consolidation in industries in areas such as mining and manufacturing. Therefore, as Chan & Lin note, most of the jobs that were meant for middle-skilled people and those who had not attended college or university have disappeared. Hence, a large pool of semi-skilled labor with vocational training has been left jobless. On the contrary, as time continues there is an increasing demand for degree holders due to the belief by employers that university graduates are equipped with better skills than those who did not attain a college degree (290). For instance, some jobs such as customer care representatives and administrative assistants in firms in the earlier days were thought to be for those who went up to high school level are now being advertised with captions like _x0093_degree holder applicants only_x0094_ or _x0093_a college degree preferred._x0094_

Generally, as the economy continues to grow, it also becomes more technologically sophisticated hence demanding more education. Hence, everyone should be given equal chance to go to college or university since they may need it to understand the technological complexity of the economy.

Reasons Why Education Should not Be Made Accessible for Everyone

Financial Factors

Making higher education accessible to all is very difficult and almost impossible due to the complexity of issues relating to education. For instance, if all student, are offered equal access, there will be the problem of overflow of people in higher learning institutions, and hence difficulties in obtaining enough course materials consequently, the quality of education will be compromised. In addition, as MmaB Modise, an author and professor in the department of adult education at the University of Botswana puts it, assessment criteria will be a challenge to the tutors since they have to take into account the diversity of the students. Similarly, selection of teaching method to suit every student with a class of student with very varying characteristics mainly based on cognitive abilities is very tasking (166). In addition, construction of buildings that allows universal access to education to even those with disabilities is tricky and expensive.

The cost of education is rising each day, and most people cannot afford it. Consequently, it is logical to restrict it to only those who can afford to avoid placing the burden on the government and disrupting learning due to missed classes and assignments. Just like in the case of owning a plane, if you cannot afford one you cannot buy, this should also apply to education. Therefore, as people think of going to school, they should consider whether they could afford it and not rely on aid and the taxpayer_x0092_s money. Further, the community cannot afford enough resources to take each individual to a higher education institution.

Social Factors

According to McGovern, the fact that everyone will benefit from something does not mean that everyone should have it (120). Therefore, the fact that higher education is beneficial does not mean that everyone should access it. Furthermore, it is not a guarantee that college or university education will be beneficial to everyone in the end. Hence, higher education should only be offered to those who suits and not to anyone. Besides, it assumed that people with college degrees have a better job and hence a better pay than those who went up to high school. However, the assumption may not hold since many well-paying jobs do not require a college degree. Further, when the subject of job satisfaction is factored in, the issue of money motivation to higher education becomes irrelevant since some people would rather have a low paying job that brings satisfaction than a well-paying job without satisfaction.

College degree is not necessarily equal to knowledge; hence, a person can be well educated without necessarily having a college degree. Further, a person can undergo personal development without having to go through college or university education. In addition, a person can go to college and fail to get any significant contribution by the college to their personal development. Therefore, it is not logical to say that higher education should be made accessible to all because it is not a basic requirement. Additionally, higher education only serves as a means to an end, is not an end itself, and so should be only availed to those who qualify for it.

According to MmaB Modise higher education is believed to prepare students to be a better citizen, especially in democratic states. However, it may be argued that the education and knowledge gained in high school are enough to prepare the citizenry to be morally upright and serve their country with dedication. Furthermore, it has not been proven that higher education is important in relation to preparing students to be citizens (166). Further, not all degree holder are automatically good citizens than high school degree holders are. As a result, it is not necessary that all students go access to knowledge from college since there is no correlation between higher education and preparing students to be good citizens

It is believed giving people an equal chance in higher education will bring trust and peaceful coexistence as well as instill morals. However, the knowledge gained since childhood formally through teachers and informally through the parents and the society suffices these needs. Therefore, there is no direct link to a college degree and these factors. In addition, it is not rational to connect the issues to higher education; hence, the education should only be accessible to those who fulfill the academic requirements for entry to college or university.

Conclusion

The issue of whether higher education should be made accessible to everyone has raised various heated debates. Some are of the view that only a few deserving students should be given vacancies in the higher education learning institutions. On the contrary, others argue that everyone should be given an equal chance in life and be allowed to access college and university education. However, due to the complexity of the aspects surrounding the issues, coming up with a decision about access to higher education is difficult. Nevertheless, access to higher education has many advantages for instance, through college diplomas and university degrees, students have acquired jobs that have aided them to meet their daily needs in life. In addition, access to higher education makes people more enlightened on various issues relating to the society that leads to peaceful coexistence. Besides, most college graduates are able to mingle with individuals without being divided by their differences. Further, except for the monetary benefits, students get other benefits from going to colleges or universities, which include better health, family and marriage life, social interactions, job satisfaction, and parenting among others. Equal access to university and college education also gives people an equal chance to be stable, foster economic growth and encourage national economic competitiveness. It is, therefore, an injustice to humanity to prevent people from accessing higher education since it directly relates to the holistic development of a better person as well as the society and better quality of life. Hence, I support that higher education should be made accessible to all since the benefits of making it accessible to all outweigh the disadvantages or rationale behind not making it accessible to all. Moreover, in the 21st century where innovation and advancement in technology appear to be influencing how people live their lifes, college or university education appears to be a much-needed component for success. Gaining access to college and university education expands the knowledge and thinking capacity of an individual. Often, without putting richness into consideration between two wealthy people, it is easy to differentiate between who went to college or university and not based on their behaviors and thinking capacity. Access to high education should not be limited and governments should work to ensure more people are enrolled. However, this should be done without compromising the quality or level of education provided.

Works Cited

Chan, Sheng-Ju, and Jing-Wen Lin. "Aiming for better employment: a holistic analysis from admission to labour market." Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 38.3, 2016, pp. 282-296.

McGovern, Seana. Education, modern development, and indigenous knowledge: An analysis of academic knowledge production, vol. 1167, Routledge, 2013.

Mercer, Theresa G., et al. "The Use of Educational Game Design and Play in Higher Education to Influence Sustainable Behaviour." International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 18.3, 2017.

MmaB Modise, Oitshepile. "Career workshops as a non‐traditional research model for enhanced relationships between higher education and the labour market." International Journal of Training and Development, 20.2, 2016, pp. 152-163.

Moretti, Gianna and Alessandra Sanchez. "Education through the lens of sustainable human development._x0094_ International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, no. 135, 2016.

Martinez, Michael E. Education as The Cultivation Of Intelligence. 1st ed.: Routledge, 2015.

Nieto, Sonia. The light in their eyes: Creating multicultural learning communities. Teachers College Press, 2015.

Owen, Stephanie, and Isabel Sawhill. Should everyone go to college? Brookings Institution, Center on Children and Families, 2013.

October 12, 2022
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Education Sociology

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Learning

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Study Society University

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