The question, “Is education a right or a privilege?” is a very debatable topic depending on the way that one looks and perceives the world. Education is one of the most important industries all over the world because of the benefits and outcomes that education provides. However, there are different opinions on whether it should be considered a right to humans or a privilege only a few may have. Is education a choice, or is it based on origin and background?
Education is a right, and education is also a privilege. It is all based on a person’s opinion, values, a perspective of the world, and what they believe is the actual meaning of education. Education is believed to be a right to live a good life in today’s society. One must be educated on how the world works to adapt to society and use their senses. Education is considered a privilege because not all citizens of all countries around the world have access to an equal or higher level of education.
What Is Education?
Before we can decide how to label the word ‘education’ we first must know what the word itself actually means. By definition, education is the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction and the acquisition of knowledge, skills, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Overall, it is the act of learning.
Not only is being educated a matter of book learning and studying habits, but also a way to build basic skills to adapt and survive in society. School is a way to educate students through to act of instruction and learning with books. They are taught how to read and write, use numbers, and understand how certain things in the world work and why they happen. Education through books shows students a way to practice through studying.
On the other hand, education through experience shows students how to learn through practice. Experience is a form of education without books and is a way to develop opinions, thoughts, and feelings based on what actually happened and how it made you feel, just like in the real world. A person can study all they want and learn everything there is to know about basketball, but they will never be professional, achieve greatness or know all there is to know without the experience of actually playing the game.
Why Is Education Important?
Now that we know what education is, why is it important? Learning and having a basic understanding of life is crucial for survival and happiness. Education itself is important for a person for various reasons such as:
- Teaches how to analyze situations and make logical decisions
- Teaches respect and confidence
- Demonstrates productivity and ensures a better standard of living
- Develops critical thinking
- Develop self-dependency
- Fulfill dreams and ambitions
In the world we live in today, education is the key to an assured life, a healthy lifestyle, and securing better jobs with higher-paying salaries. Education is the main source of learning that increases human progress and keeps the human species alive. Without education, the species would be lost, unable to survive, and unhappy.
What Is a Right?
To decide whether or not education is a right, first, it is important to know what a right is and how it is identified. A right is a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way. It is a social or ethical principle of entitlement.
A right helps structure the form of a government or country as a whole, as well as the shape of mortality. Rights are things that are considered accessible to everyone, no matter their status or background.
If education is labeled as a ‘right’, then every citizen or individual or the world should have access to equal and high forms of learning and education.
What Is a Privilege?
Just the same, before we can label education as a privilege, we must first know what a privilege is. A privilege is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a specific person or group of people. A right isn’t something just anyone is entitled to. It is only granted after birth.
Someone can be described as a privileged person only because they fit into a certain category such as race, gender, religion, social status, and more. In society, money is a big privilege; the more money you have, the more access you have.
If education is labeled as a ‘privilege’, then that would mean only certain groups of people have access to specific types of education, and others are not.
Education as a Right
Every person on the planet should have an equal chance in life and have access to certain supplies, including education. Education should be provided to an individual because they are alive, and need to understand how the world works, not just because they come from a wealthy family or look a certain way. The only way to advance in society is to be educated.
Education is what makes society grow, thrive, and function. A government or country cannot enforce laws about things people aren’t educated about or punish their citizens based on things that they don’t understand or were never taught. Education is seen to be a right because, without it, the world would become chaos. People wouldn’t know right from wrong, how to be respectful, advance in life, or stay safe in society.
Society has advanced since the development of the first school or university. Laws and constitutions have been put into place about what is morally and ethically correct when it comes to what their citizens are obligated to have the right to and access to. There are certain things a country must provide for their citizens. Whether it is acted upon is not up to the government, but it at least needs to be provided and be fairly accessible to everyone.
Education as a Privilege
As a child, it is hard to look at education as a privilege when going to school every day is the norm. It is the children who had to stay behind from school to take care of their young siblings, or work on the family farm to have enough money to put food on the table, that recognize education as a privilege and not an obligation.
The first ‘elite’ or privileged school was Harvard University, developed in the 1600s. Originally, the school did not accept students based on excellent grades and high test scores. They were accepted based on what kind of rank their family held in society. It was designed to exclude certain students while others excelled and advanced.
The answer to whether or not education is a privilege is going to vary depending on who is being asked. If you are asking a white male from upstate New York, USA, the answer will probably be no. However, if you are asking a Latino woman from a small village in Honduras, you may get a different answer.
Education as a Choice
Whether education is considered a right or a privilege, it all comes down to one other aspect; choice. Just because there is access to education doesn’t mean it is wanted or going to be used and taken advantage of. Education isn’t always everything; a lot can be learned through experience alone.
People learn how to be successful by education, yes, but by also watching other people who are already where they want to be. They will do things to mimic their mentor, hoping for the same results. People who strive to be successful will always choose to be educated because that is how they will move up the ladder, gain skills, and acquire the things they want.
Success is not always the main goal for some people. Some people don’t have the motivation and drive to be successful, but that’s okay. Family, happiness, experience, or tradition can sometimes outweigh all the benefits of a successful career.
So, is education a right that should be provided for all or a privilege only available to the elite few? There is no proven answer; the answer varies based on multiple different factors.
Education is an element in life that people need to function in society today, and it is important. However, the sad truth is that there are people in the world who don’t have access to a higher learning institution by no fault of their own. The opinion you form should not only be based on fact and personal experience but the perspectives of others as well.