Reducing the cost of education is the most effective way of lowering college students' tuition fees, and consequently makes higher education more accessible to poor students, said an article in Wenhui Daily. An excerpt follows:
The new school year always brings with it a new round of problems with poor students in China having to find their fees for study.
It is unfair that children born into poor families who cannot afford to send them to school should miss out on the benefits of education.
They are the people who suffer from this ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor in China.
Society, colleges and educational institutions in particular should be responsible for providing students with easier access to schooling.
Ever-increasing tuition fees have driven average families to severe financial crises, and have deprived many poverty-stricken students of a proper education.
The government needs to increase its spending on public education, but colleges and other institutes of learning could also do more. The most obvious solution is to lower the cost of education.
Costs could be cut in many ways - for instance, the money spent on lavish infrastructure facilities or luxury and needless buildings.
Many universities are currently preoccupied with building high-standard dormitory apartments with private toilets, telephones and broadband capability in each room. Students enjoy living standards that even outshine some hotels.
Some college leaders pay visits to famous resorts or even go abroad for site-seeing on the expense of students' tuitions while claiming that they are there having meetings.
To effectively reduce the costs of education, various methods should be taken into consideration.
First, the meaning of education should be re-defined. Education should be simply confined to educating people and not be treated as a profit-making industry. Colleges should switch their attention from emptying parents' purses to cultivating students' minds.
Second, educational institutions should strictly observe their own behavior. A large proportion of school funds is used to pamper inspection teams. Parents have no obligation in paying for their accommodation and should not have to fork out for it.
Third, tightened inspections and audits should be adopted in the financial management of colleges.
Finally, benevolent colleges that are helping poor students out of financial difficulties should be rewarded.
Joint efforts from government and colleges alike could help give meaning to the saying that "education knows no bounds."
(China Daily September 21, 2004)