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Topic: As long as the government is paying for my education, it can tell me what to study.

Education is considered by many to be “the key to success.” The question is who should be in control of that “key”? Some believe that once the government is paying that it should dictate or determine what one should study. However, others argue that the individual must have a say in what areas he/she chooses to study. The latter perspective will be more fully explored below. Firstly, if the government has total control of what one studies simply because it is paying then the individual’s right to free choice would have been taken away. Thus, while the Ministry of Education in its 16 Priorities speaks of developing “innovative and creative people”, the opposite would in fact be the result if persons were only allowed to study courses dictated by the government. Creative and innovative ideas could be stifled as people seek to simply follow the government’s guidelines. Secondly, giving individuals options that they may not want to choose could have adverse effects on the country as it attempts to develop its human resources. The country’s “bright” youth may choose to migrate to other countries, thus draining the intellectual resources available for nation building. For example, following the CAPE results in 2013, in Trinidad and Tobago, eighty-six per-cent of the students who received scholarships chose to go abroad to study because the subjects that they wished to pursue were not being offered by the government. Thus, the “best and brightest” were choosing to move away rather than stay and contribute to their land. Thirdly, in a country where the government determines the education that is offered to the population, ideas would become quite limited and there is the danger that a dictatorship style government could be created. There could be a limited world view and limited competition of ideas and this could become a dangerous practice. For instance, in the history of the world one cannot forget the lessons taught by Adolf Hilter and his Nazi army. As the government determining the education of its people, hatred of the Jews was institutionalized, leading to the death of millions of Jews. Thus, the government’s ability to “educate” its people was used to almost completely annihilate another race. Fourthly, when the government pays for one’s education, it continues the cycle of the dependency syndrome which causes so many developing countries to be unable to move on to developed nation status. This syndrome does not allow people to learn how to be resourceful and to provide for their own needs. This may result in a huge wastage of funds since very often when things come too easily they are not appreciated. For instance, in Trinidad and Tobago, the government allows private candidates to sit the CSEC examinations twice “free of charge”. Consequently, thousands sign up and then (according to a 2012 report from the

the government should never be allowed to be the sole authority to determine the education that is provided for a country’s citizenry.Examinations Section of the Ministry of Education) more than sixty per-cent fail to actually be present to write the exams. In the end then. In conclusion therefore. millions of dollars are lost. If the objective is to create a strong. . innovative people who can meet the challenges of living in today’s “global village” then the individual must have some say in what is studied.