Cartoon: Night classes

An excellent cartoon from Mike Moreu:

The main thing for me is the question of “what is the social benefit”.  In part education increases the human capital of the individual, which is something that the individual should pay for, in another part education can be consumption (which the individual should pay for) and in a final part some types of education also benefit other people – which is where government subsidies come in.

I think there are many night courses we can identify as not having this social benefit – and so the government shouldn’t pay for them.  I don’t know if this is the test the government is applying, but it is the one they should be applying.

Hence, I think Mike’s comic here is spot on – when a course only has private consumption and investment value it should be the individuals choice to do it and responsibility to pay for it.

  • http://antidismal.blogspot.com/ Paul Walker

    What evidence is there that there is much of a positive externality to eduction?

  • http://www.tvhe.co.nz Matt Nolan

    @Paul Walker

    Not sure, and I’m not saying there is any benefit per see. All I’m saying is that IF we make a policy to subsidise it should be based on the concept of social benefit not other things.

  • http://www.tvhe.co.nz goonix

    Are you suggesting that fencing lessons do not offer a valuable externality to society? :P

    I love the Bernard Darnton quote on adult education:
    “Welcome to the welfare state: Give a man a fish and he’ll demand chips too.”

  • http://www.tvhe.co.nz Matt Nolan

    @goonix

    My main issue with that quote is it makes me want some fish and chips, damnit :)

    I wouldn’t mind taking up fencing – how did I get in on that rort :P

  • http://vectormadness.com indi

    this should be an individual choice and it different kind of need for each individual. nice quote anyway.

  • http://www.textbooksfree.org/Free%20Internet%20Libraries.htm Walter Antoniotti

    Government educational funds for students are tied to degree programs so paying for fencing is not a problem. The problem is no attempt is made to help better students more than average students and math/science/computer students more than the psychology, sociology, history students. These Social Science degrees require a Master’s degrees and way to many average students choose them as undergraduate degrees. Plus a lot of competition from Asia now provides much competition for ours science/math/computer students who must study much more because of labs. Plus there is more rigorous homework. The Education major attracts many poorer students and when a bright math student majors in education because it requires much less work, they earn a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology rather than physics. Again, no attempt by government is made to assign aid to important areas, although I have seen Florida doing some interesting programs. I know, all art teachers think art and music are important and students are incomplete without said subjects. My prejudice is showing!

  • Sinner

    Heh. What’s best about this argument is that it works for universities, polytechs, schools, hospitals…

    If you won’t pay for it, the government shouldn’t fund it – if you will pay for it, the government doesn’t need to!

  • http://contosehistoriasdeterror.blogspot.com/ Paulo Garcia

    I have to agree with Walter. Areas that matter and better students should get priority. Although I do think students are incomplete without music and art :)

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    Nice post! Tnx for sharing.

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  • http://www.operationflashpoint2online.com/ Operation Flashpoint 2

    I also Agree, training courses especially evening courses are reflected on personal choice. Where I believe the government should come into play is when the whole population can take advantage of such educational courses. For example mothering skills or basic educational skills for people without qualifications but then I would imagine a lot of people taking advantage of the situation, miss using the concept etc.

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    Your comic strip talks so clearly about maintaining night courses which are socially beneficial to all. Yes, you’re right to say the government should not pay for the courses that offer only private benefits in the end. All individuals who are going to enroll in these night courses should be more than willing to pay for the fees. Anyway, they will be the ones to benefit from it the most.

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  • http://www.samplegraduateschoolessay.com sample graduate school essay

    This is an acceptable sentiment, but does this mean that we should start classifying classes according to their benefits and whether they should be privately funded or offered for free by the government? I think this would be the more practical approach.