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7 Countries where Americans can study for free

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  • #16
    Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
    Would Americans be willing to see a small reduction in defence spending if the money was guaranteed (I have no idea how possible this is) to go into public education at all levels up to and including free education for university and mature students.
    Absolutely not...

    ?


    • #17
      First of all, the US is at a competitive disadvantage by failing to provide an affordable education to all with motivation and talent. If we placed current college debt into a non-profit (low interest) fund, that would take care of the current cost.

      If jotathought's opinion that most US citizens would be against this change is true, there should be polls to indicate as much. I'm of the opposite opinion: most would be in favor of post-high school education being provided either free of charge or very low cost.

      ?


      • #18
        Originally posted by radcentr View Post
        First of all, the US is at a competitive disadvantage by failing to provide an affordable education to all with motivation and talent. If we placed current college debt into a non-profit (low interest) fund, that would take care of the current cost.

        If jotathought's opinion that most US citizens would be against this change is true, there should be polls to indicate as much. I'm of the opposite opinion: most would be in favor of post-high school education being provided either free of charge or very low cost.

        Well, nations like Germany, Sweden, Finland or Norway (article) have all become destinations of immigrants comparatively recently (after WW II). Thus the importance of investing in educating and building up domestic talent is probably more obvious to them than to people in a country that only exists due to immigration (the US f.e.). And educating domestic talent as a public investment (also by free or almost free education) works in several other ways. Public investment in education is seen also as an investment to avoid probably higher future costs that would also come out of the public purse, like for poverty, unemployment and possibly, crime. It is furthermore hardly a coincidence that the countries in question have, in spite of global competition, managed to remain sucessful exporters of premium products that require high investments in domestic education, research & development and job training. All of the countries in question have inclusive labour market and social models in place ( where employees and management, universities and private sector, governement and unions are used to cooperate with each other to train the people that the economy needs). And the latter is also the reason for extending the offer of free education also to foreigners. Faced with demographic changes and globalization sucking in global talent for offer of a free education and often a job as well (especially in Germany) is not so much a choice, but a necessity.
        It should also be noted though that when making comparisons to the US important cultural differences should be considered. F.e. that not even 50 % of german students actually go to college/University, but into vocational training/apprenticeships. And that german universities are remarkably different from american ones :



        http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/...dents_why.html



        First of all, the concept of “campus life” differs widely between our two countries. German universities consist almost entirely of classroom buildings and libraries—no palatial gyms with rock walls and water parks; no team sports facilities (unless you count the fencing fraternities I will never understand); no billion-dollar student unions with flat-screen TVs and first-run movie theaters. And forget the resort-style dormitories. What few dorms exist are minimalistic, to put it kindly—but that’s largely irrelevant anyway, as many German students still live at home with their parents, or in independent apartment shares, none of which foster the kind of insular, summer-camp-esque experience Americans associate closely with college life (and its hefty price tag). It’s quite common for German students simply to commute in for class, then leave.
        Speaking of class: Academic life is quite a bit different over there. German students are typically accepted into particular majors—none of this “expanding your horizons” and declaring halfway through your junior year. You apply to college in Germany to study law, medicine, literature, engineering, etc.—and you take that program’s requirements, the end.....There is also little in the way academic advising, which in the U.S. is now so hands-on that it has become its own cottage industry within the administration. Over there, you’re expected to know what you need to take, and to take it. ......There is also little in the way academic advising, which in the U.S. is now so hands-on that it has become its own cottage industry within the administration. Over there, you’re expected to know what you need to take, and to take it.




        http://www.businessweek.com/articles...onal-education


        Our friends in Germany know— as we should —that some students are bored by traditional studies; some don’t have the aptitude for college; some would rather work with their hands; and some are unhappy at home and just need to get away. They realize that everyone won’t benefit from college, but they can still be successful and contribute to society.
        Americans often see such students as victims. Germans see these students as potential assets who might one day shine if they’re matched with the right vocation. And it has a system in place—a partnership of employers and unions with government—to do the matching and provide the necessary training.
        As the New York Times Magazine recently noted, Germany’s vocational education program doesn’t focus entirely on factory work......Administered by the Federal Institute for Vocational Training and Education, Germany’s vocational education program is a dual system: Students learn in the classroom, and they learn by doing. Typically, trainees attend vocational school one or two days per week, studying the theory and practice of their occupation as well as economics and social studies, foreign languages, and other general subjects. They also do a working apprenticeship in their chosen field. During this period, trainees receive about one-third of the salary of a trained skilled worker....America for too long has attempted a cookie-cutter approach to secondary education: Stay in school; go to college; and we’ll all be happy. To our continued consternation, it doesn’t always work.

        If America wants to remain competitive, we have to keep our young people engaged. Germany has the right formula. U.S. business and political leaders should learn from the German approach and invest in creating and supporting a German-style vocational education system. Businesses will get the skilled workers they need, young people will see new career opportunities open up to them, our middle class will be strengthened, and our economy will benefit.

        ?


        • #19
          Thank you for the post on how it should be done in the US. We do have vocational schools, but they are barely gaining ground as alternatives to the university career path. As a U. grad myself, I've recommended the "vo/tech" path to those in my circle of family and friends. If the kid doesn't want the academic path, it wastes everyone's time and money to pressure the student to "tough it out" in the university regimen. I witnessed this even as I was starting my university studies, and it continues to be a problem decades later.

          It ain't rocket science, as we say in the US: If you hate the education required for your job, you'll hate your job, too. I have no doubt that we suffer this intangible hell (physical and mental illness) because we chose to sacrifice what is needed by each person, in favor of some fuzzy goal of "being the best". University diplomas used to be thought of as "the best", and we've proven that is only half true.

          ?


          • #20
            Originally posted by radcentr View Post
            Thank you for the post on how it should be done in the US. We do have vocational schools, but they are barely gaining ground as alternatives to the university career path. As a U. grad myself, I've recommended the "vo/tech" path to those in my circle of family and friends. If the kid doesn't want the academic path, it wastes everyone's time and money to pressure the student to "tough it out" in the university regimen. I witnessed this even as I was starting my university studies, and it continues to be a problem decades later.

            It ain't rocket science, as we say in the US: If you hate the education required for your job, you'll hate your job, too. I have no doubt that we suffer this intangible hell (physical and mental illness) because we chose to sacrifice what is needed by each person, in favor of some fuzzy goal of "being the best". University diplomas used to be thought of as "the best", and we've proven that is only half true.
            Well, not just in the US. Also in southern Europe f.e. parents ( often working class themselves) have for decades struggled hard to give their kids the benefit of a higher academic education, and also governements have put all incentives on that. Sometimes with unintended results : Spain f.e. (highest measured youth unemployment in the developed world, what a waste of potential) is full of young art historians, sociologists or mathematicians that may drive your taxi, serve your coffee or watch over your kids at the hotel beach (if they have a job at all and arent working abroad, f.e. in the UK, Germany or the US), while the industry ( that has recently shown signs of recovery) struggles hard to find suitable workers, in spite of the unemployment and the crisis. In the good years they often left these jobs to immigrants from countries like Morrocco or Romania, now Spain is experimenting with a german-style apprenticeship-system. I was in Portugal in December, where private sector and governement are also seeking to import the model. And lets not forget the US :

            http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b9008...#axzz3OyCSDWy3

            Yet that will take years and probably a generation to take roots, and the point is not least societal acceptance of non-academic education. Not a problem in Germany and a number of other countries, yet not everywhere. But the lesson of economies that offer standardized apprenticeships as a respected alternative to college/university for those that leave school earlier and low or extremely low youth unemployment is hardly deniable. Fascinating that a medieval concept, that was until recently rather exotic for many or most outside central/northern Europe, has now been turned into an export article itself

            ?


            • #21
              Originally posted by radcentr View Post
              First of all, the US is at a competitive disadvantage by failing to provide an affordable education to all with motivation and talent. If we placed current college debt into a non-profit (low interest) fund, that would take care of the current cost.

              If jotathought's opinion that most US citizens would be against this change is true, there should be polls to indicate as much. I'm of the opposite opinion: most would be in favor of post-high school education being provided either free of charge or very low cost.
              I didn't provide an opinion on how most U.S. citizens would respond, as I'm pretty certain that a majority of college-aged individuals would fully support it. What I did state is I don't agree with proposed entitlement programs because they will inflate the cost of tuition, they aren't sustainable as a long-term solution and it does nothing for those currently in debt or who worked hard to pay their tuition.

              ?


              • #22
                Point noted for the cost of entitlement that is poorly invested. Supposing the Prez' "community college" initiative takes root, we'll see whether it is run well. If free, and post high school education is given once, rather than multiple times for a single individual, then I don't see where the waste comes in. Supposing the person cares about a paying career, they will choose to use their education time wisely. IOW, they will choose public administration rather than women's studies, since that will allow them to (generally) qualify for a position in the public or non-profit sector, which they can steer toward service to women's causes if the opportunity presents. Likewise with vocational training; plumbing is much more practical (and lucrative) than pottery making skills.

                Simple remedy: each person gets a fixed sum, rather than an entitlement for an education until they complete sometime in an undetermined future. The fixed sum keeps pressure on schools to keep costs nearly fixed as well, and pressures the individual to choose their career wisely.

                ?


                • #23
                  Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                  Simple remedy: each person gets a fixed sum, rather than an entitlement for an education until they complete sometime in an undetermined future. The fixed sum keeps pressure on schools to keep costs nearly fixed as well, and pressures the individual to choose their career wisely.
                  Why should anyone be given anything without earning it? That's the problem with the entitlement system -- people expect its embellishments, it's counter-productive and provides no incentive or motivation to change.

                  ?


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by jotathought View Post

                    Why should anyone be given anything without earning it? That's the problem with the entitlement system -- people expect its embellishments, it's counter-productive and provides no incentive or motivation to change.
                    Because education is not just some entitlement, but an investment (!) into your countrys future ? At least that is the view here. And also free" (tax-financed) education isnt without requirements, pressure and noone can expect something that he/she doesnt meet the criteria for or hasnt worked for.
                    Fact of the matter is that the nations in question (like Germany and the Nordics) are thriving economies with low or very unemployment and reasonable public finances (not least compared to the US). That means the claim that free education was automatically financially unsustainable cannot seriously be based on facts, at least on a global scale. The tradeoff is not merely about tax money, but also has to take the absence of student debt/tuition fee bubble as well as employment (employee skills) and social mobility into account, even if it is a long-term one. How much of that is due to some cultural DNA (social contract, working attitudes) and/or country specific factors ( not just everybody can/does enter higher education, due to respected non-academic alternatives (apprenticeships etc) and how much of that could/should be emulated in the US may be debatable.


                    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...orkers/381550/


                    The first thing you notice about German apprenticeships: The employer and the employee still respect practical work. German firms don’t view dual training as something for struggling students or at-risk youth. “This has nothing to do with corporate social responsibility,” an HR manager at Deutsche Bank told the group I was with, organized by an offshoot of the Goethe Institute. “I do this because I need talent.” So too at Bosch.

                    “Building world-class diesel parts is hard,” the executive in charge of the program explained. “We’re very careful about who we hire. We’re looking for quality.” As for trainees, they learn quickly enough: A mistake on the factory floor is a million-dollar mistake—and they grow up fast, learning not just skills but responsibility. No wonder the apprenticeships are popular: At the John Deere plant in Mannheim, 3,100 young people apply each year for 60 slots, at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, it’s 22,000 applicants for 425 places.

                    The second thing you notice: Both employers and employees want more from an apprenticeship than short-term training. Our group heard the same thing in plant after plant: We’re teaching more than skills. “In the future, there will be robots to turn the screws,” one educator told us. “We don’t need workers for that. What we need are people who can solve problems”—skilled, thoughtful, self-reliant employees who understand the company’s goals and methods and can improvise when things go wrong or when they see an opportunity to make something work better.

                    A final virtue of the German system: its surprising flexibility. Skeptical Americans worry that the European model requires tracking, and it’s true, German children choose at age 10 among an academic high school, a vocational track, or something in between. But it turns out there’s a lot of opportunity for trainees to switch tracks later on. They can go back to school to specialize further or earn a master craftsman’s certificate or train as a trainer in the company’s apprenticeship program—and many do. What education reformers call “lifelong learning” is still a distant dream for most Americans. In Germany, it’s a reality........
                    This issue came up at nearly every stop on the tour, we Americans asking about what costs mean for ROI and the Germans telling us to look beyond ROI to the longer-term benefits, for the company and society. Ultimately, of course, theyre right. But its hard to imagine many American firms, generally focused on short-term financial gain, building the kind of in-house training centers we saw at every German plant: immaculate, state-the-art facilities, complete with robots, the latest computerized machining tools, and a raft of uniformed instructors overseeing busy trainees.

                    Another challenge, if anything a more difficult one, has to do with the centralization of the German system and the role the state plays in regulating what happens in private companies. What makes dual training work, every manager told us, are the standardized occupational profiles, or curricula, developed by the federal government in collaboration with employers, educators, and union representatives. Every young machinist training anywhere in Germany learns the same skills in the same order on the same timetable as every other machinist. This is good for apprentices: It guarantees high-quality programs where trainees learn more than one companys methods, making it possible for those who wish to switch jobs later on. But its hard to imagine this level of state control or business-labor cooperation in the U.S.
                    Last edited by Voland; 01-19-2015, 03:56 AM.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by jotathought View Post

                      Why should anyone be given anything without earning it? That's the problem with the entitlement system -- people expect its embellishments, it's counter-productive and provides no incentive or motivation to change.
                      Voland provided the reasoning behind employers' support of a comprehensive education after high school. That alone is enough to convince me. But to answer your question more directly: The student's motivation to change is to take his one chance and make a career out of it. His incentive is to use his time very carefully to get there.

                      Your argument only makes sense if high school were enuf to get a good paying job across a wide spectrum -coast to coast and in most employment sectors. It isn't, so earning a higher education that can be paid off by a poor person (starting from scratch) is a non-starter. Since over half of our high school students are now officially in the "poor" category, letting them get by on their missing boot-straps is a recipe for disaster. Not just for them, but for our nation.

                      Now, if conservatives had a plan for top-notch education thru high school, with a massive program to fund scholarships thru university or tech school, you might have an argument which preserves your incentives position. As it stands, we have complaints about our crappy public education (which is true), but no plans to correct it for the poor who cannot pay full freight. (F.E.) There are no GOP initiatives to plug tax loopholes for the largest companies, while allowing other loopholes to fund all those scholarships. See? Tax neutral, benefits all parties, and no extra gov't. monies or agencies involved. We get none of that from the conservatives, just arguments that replace one mediocre system with another.
                      -In short, crappy vouchers to pay for a sub-standard education at some questionable charter school; that is a cynical answer to the problem.

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