Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No to free education, says minister

Harakahdaily,17 October 2012

Oct 17: Higher Education minister Khaled Nordin has confirmed that Barisan Nasional does not plan to match the offer of free tertiary education by Pakatan Rakyat, neither will it abolish the controversial National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) if the coalition is returned to power after the next general election.

According to Khaled (pic), free higher education will only “burden taxpayers”, saying there should be “rational consideration” before implementing such a policy because it would derail the country's Vision 2020.

“The quality of free education will drop because the 'free' factor will erode the real value of education and student’s accountability,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama, adding that private institutions of higher learning were profit-oriented.

On PR's argument that Turkey had no problem providing free education, Khaled explained that students in Turkey are required to pay fees for tertiary education and post-graduate studies through a National Higher Credit and Dormitories Institutions which imposes an interest rate based on consumer price index, higher than the rate charged by PTPTN.

As such, he dismissed PR’s promise of abolishing PTPTN and providing free education as "mere populist sentiment devoid of concern of its implication".

In its alternative budget 2013, PR promised to abolish PTPTN which included plans for debt write-off and also proposed fee subsidies for private education.

The policy, highly popular among the youth, forced BN to introduce a discount system to PTPTN recipients in the Budget 2013.

BN had insisted that abolishing PTPTN would bankrupt the nation while PR had insisted that the cost was just a fraction of country’s revenue that could be easily recovered with prudent spending of resources.
~ Harakah Daily

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