I read a brief report from today’s Jamaica Observer entitled: “Tertiary spending Favours the Wealthy”. This should come as no surprise as government spending on any form of education favours the upper classes. Government activity the world over has clearly been marketed, for the most part, and been justified as being ‘in the common interest’, ‘for the betterment of society’ or in case of the soft spot we have for education to ’empower the poor’.
It has been known for some time now that government subsidy of education, especially higher education, has been proven to be of greater help to the continued advancement and progression of the few in the upper echelons of society at the expense of the greater masses, with very limited and even negligible results in uplifting individuals in the lower and poorer classes.
Time and time again, it is being clearly demonstrated that the “good intentions” of government activity have been of more benefit to those with means than those without. In other words, the consequences of activities by the state have been contrary to the intentions of the activity. Very important that we distinguish the two, ‘consequences v. intentions’.
With regard to government’s role in education. Do we need any more evidence than looking at facts of education in Jamaica? Our church run secondary institutions (eg, Immaculate, KC, Calabar) and those run by private trusts (eg, Munro, Manning’s, Wolmer’s), though partially funded by the govt, are better administered than Govt secondary institutions, with far superior academic results. At the primary level, the difference is even more dramatic with private schools (Preparatory Schoosl), not funded at all by the state, outdoing government Primary Schools (with a handful of exceptions) for entry to secondary education.
The answer from those most interested in government fixing education (liberals, progressives and teachers’ unions)?…. Surprise! surprise! Increased government role, more taxes and more spending on education, especially on teachers’ salaries, when the real crux of the problem is in the administration and direct subsidizing of education by the state. It would be best to give money to parents, as vouchers to spend the money on whichever school they prefer.
We need to wake up and understand that this is about government progressively encroaching in the control our lives, in what we should learn, how we should behave and how much of our earnings we are allowed to keep. After all, it is only the government that knows how to best spend our money for our benefit!