UNAIR FISIP experts study free education issue

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – The free education for the poor is a moral and constitutional obligation. Marhaeni Mega Wijayanti, a lecturer of Faculty of Social and Political Sciences revealed that free education is part of the government’s efforts to accelerate national development. Participation in education can guarantee economic activities and provide long-term economic benefits.

“The free education program for the public sector is a development strategy as well as the country’s moral obligation,” she said.

However, local studies showed that there is persisting injustice despite free education. For example in Egypt, the government has run free education causing an increase in School Participation Rate (APS), but the program does not determine the success of children in school because it is dependent on the socio-economic conditions of their families.

“The burden of family expenses in the field of free education is still there, which includes complementary learning and private lessons,” she said.

Marhaeni said that the existence of free education, instead of fighting for basic rights to achieve justice, it maintains injustice by perpetuating the lower class children as a dominated class (i.e. the working class).

“There are three important elements in free education, false resistance, the formation of economic relations with the dominant class, and the normalization of individuals to support capitalism through the curriculum,” she explained.

Although free education is closely related to the capitalist society, she continued, education actually structures learning to support and maintain class domination through discipline. So this is different from the concept of free education as a good thing, fighting for basic human rights, and important for national development.

“Free education needs to be understood as a practice that is class bias and maintains class dominance,” she explained.

Author: Khefti Al Mawalia

Editor: Nuri Hermawan



Marhaeni Mega Wijayanti, Tuti Budirahayu, Novri Susan. 2019. Free Education as Superstructure: Phenomenological Study of Free Private Education. Jurnal Masyarakat Kebudayaacn dan Politik.

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