Free Education

Lest I sound terribly repetitious, I have noted that there is an overwhelming acceptance and appreciation of Government's recent announcement to provide "free education" to pupils ranging from Early Child Education, right through Primary School to Form 3 Junior Secondary in our country. The beneficiaries of this latest development in education as other commentators have pointed out are undoubtedly our children and fee-payers.

But who would oppose such noble educational development in the strongest terms? I suppose, no-one will dare do that-it might be rare for anybody to oppose such a noble development out-rightly, though the sceptics may downplay the well intended intentions of the popular mass.

The question relating to the timing, priority and strategy the present Government has considered or taken to introduce the free education concept is 'brewing' a much heated but worthwhile debate. This is a healthy sign that we are becoming more mature, observant, critical, and analytical in our approach to how we perceive or react to what is happening around us. We should not be seen as passive, objectively screwed and naive.

But in doing so, let us not confuse ourselves or others in our debate on free education regarding our aspirations for an "ideal" basic education program with "reality" given the circumstances that impede us from achieving what is deemed possible at least in the theoretical sense. Let us be open-minded, but at the same time, to realistically acknowledge our problems, short-falls, our inabilities. As well as realise our strengths and to work aggressively with determination towards achieving our educational goals. Instead of painting a picture of what we are not, or be so critical unnecessarily about what we may not achieve despite our well articulated education strategic plans.
Hence, I have opted with some caution of course, that the Free Education concept should be perceived as; one step up a vertical cliff to improving access, equity and quality of basic education program in our country. Lest we forget that Free Education is part of the current education restructuring and reform program, which the Ministry of Education is implementing, in order to improve access, equity and quality of education in our country. Surely, it did not take a year for the western world to realise the potential of basic education. It took a fair bit of time! We have just barely taken a few steps up this long treacherous basic education journey!