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Need opinions for school debate

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1/10/2017 4:08:41 PM
Posted: 1 week ago

I am a high school student in South Africa and I do debating. This year our topic is
"Free tertiary education in South Africa will promote equality."

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1/10/2017 11:59:34 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
Assuming by tertiary education you're referring to higher education (HE), it is frequently cited as a facilitator of social mobility.

Among the most salient metrics of social mobility is the ability to improve income. If HE increased social mobility, we would expect a significant decrease in the Gini index (income inequality) for the UK from 1992-2013, a period across which the percentage of the UK populating graduating more than doubled (1). Instead, the Gini index appears largely static throughout this increase in graduates (2) and in fact, a 2009 governmental report noted that "income inequality has generally increased over the past two decades" (3).

In the UK, higher education is, in my view, a major force for inequality. Tuition fees increased nine-fold (quite literally) between 2006-2012, while the younger generation is simultaneously forced to obtain far more qualifications to do the same jobs currently performed by the older generation, who continue to suffer no such requirement.

Other forms of tertiary education (apprenticeships) likely constitute the best way to learn; it would make sense that we are evolutionarily predisposed to learn "on the job", though observation/emulation. It is important to have legislation that protects both employers and employees from exploitation when it comes to apprenticeships however.

(1) Office for National Statistics, Graduates in the UK Labour Market 2013, Labour Force Survey.

(2) Istvan Gyorgy Toth (Sept 2013), Gini Policy Paper 3, Time series and cross country variation of income inequalities in Europe on the medium run: are inequality structures converging in the past three decades? p23.

(3) Ian Townsend (2009), UK income inequality (with international comparisons). Commons Briefing papers SN03870.
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