Education is important to the well-being and health of people, and by extension, to the community as a whole. High-quality education needs to be viewed as a fundamental right available to all—without undue burden or barriers.
The just, equitable, and sustainable global society that is necessary to successfully address and survive the increasing tragedies caused by climate change—from extreme weather events to bloody conflicts—will not be realized if people are poorly educated, and easily exploited by those who directly benefit from discord and tragedy.
Some religious, political, and economic actors actively engage in short-term, self-serving campaigns to prevent successfully addressing the harm and disruptions caused by climate change. Others traffic in falsehoods, fear, bigotry, prejudice, and racism—all of which are abetted by ignorance and poor education.
High-quality education is a necessary aspect of protecting our community, livelihoods, and well-being from those who’d wreck them for their own immediate aggrandizement.
In Canada, more and more people are falling victim to ‘fake news’. Education is important in teaching critical thinking skills thereby providing greater protection from those who seek to traffic in malicious political propaganda and fallacious arguments.
A well-educated, informed population is necessary for individuals and their nation to succeed and for citizens who can appreciate, fully understand, and support the policies needed to create it.
In Canada, all forms of post-secondary education, whether in academia or the trades, have become prohibitively costly for people without independent financial means, leaving young people to carry large debt loads.
Investing in the public, as a whole
APPC proposes that education be considered a public investment in the nation as a whole, and be fully funded from kindergarten to post-graduate levels including advanced skill training in non-academic fields.
For example, removing financial barriers would ensure that most citizens, regardless of personal or family circumstances, could fully participate in and contribute to the economic, cultural, and political life of the nation. It would also ensure that citizens could transition from career to career as necessary.
Countries such as Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, Belgium, Greece, and Spain offer various types of free education to both citizens and foreign students.
Denmark, for example, offers free education, where students get paid to assist with outside costs. Students over the age of 18 are entitled to six years free study. Students who don’t live with their parents also receive an additional monthly grant to assist with housing and living costs. Danes invest in education through higher taxes providing the government with the funding necessary to invest in education and other important social programs.(1)
(1) Brad Lengden, The Country WhereYou Get Paid For Being a Student; Student Problems, 23 February, 2018.