Yes, Education is Expensive

Yes, Education is Expensive


The American humourist, Will Rogers, said: “The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.” This remark, made 40 years ago by a man with an ability to define in a light way some of the perplexing trends and facets of his society, is just as true today.

Of course, knowledge is relative. If the most highly educated man of a hundred years ago were to return to earth, he would have to do a great deal of studying to assimilate the knowledge that is common to hundreds of people today. There has never been a time in the history of man when information was so diverse and researched, or when it was so readily available to the common man. Not so long ago, the pursuit of knowledge was the reservation of the rich or the aristocrat. In historically recent eras, it was a criminal act to advance new theories or to think independently of traditional concepts.

However, tremendous technological and scientific advances have made it imperative that every man and woman regard education as a life-long continuing process. The great thrusts into all areas of awareness have made it essential that young people go much farther in their basic education than was ever required of their parents or grandparents.

Education is expensive. Not only do we pay collectively in taxation for our educational institutions, but each individual pays a price too. The boy or girl going on to higher education at College or University pays not only in tuition fees and the cost of books, but in something of himself. A University of Toronto professor said recently, that students working for a degree usually experience “cultural shocks”. Perhaps for the first time, they are running into vastly different ideas. They feel uncomfortable with their new environment because of its unfamiliarity and its intellectual challenge. Returning home at Christmas, they may find themselves to be equally uncomfortable within the family circle because of its limited expression. (He will later decide this to be of value.)

Some young people turn away from educational opportunities because of job offers that fill the needs of the moment. Taking the long view, the pursuit of education at this stage could be considered as deferring payment. Sociological studies have established beyond any doubt that there is a marked difference in the life time earnings of people of various educational levels. So while a student may be earning very little money, or none at all, his education is like an annuity or investment. It will pay off in dollars and cents. He isn’t losing a thing. His payment is deferred.

Yes, education is expensive; it costs money; it requires time and application; and it demands an open, enquiring mind. There is this attribute: the physical and mental discomfort ease up as you progress. To choose the line of least resistance makes one forever susceptible to the whims of chance, and certainly, less prepared to cope with change.


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