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Education and the religion-subjective well-being relationship (blog 4 of 4)

This blog amalgamates and expands the insights from my previous three blogs on subject well-being, religion, and education.While religion is thought to have a general positive impact on subjective well-being, the impact of education on religion is ambiguous. A worthwhile question is then: how does the attainment of higher levels of education impact the religion-subjective well-being relationship? Internal measure of religiosity may be diminished, while external measures may be enhanced.

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Education and the religion-subjective well-being relationship (blog 3 of 4)

Several studies have found higher levels of education to be associated with greater subjective well-being.The positive relationship is explained by the role of education in improving cognitive abilities and access to economic resources. This blog follows from my previous one on the religion-subjective well-being relationship, thus explaining how another key social institution influences individual well-being.

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At what price? The budgetary implications of fee free higher education

Much of the on-going debate around fee-free higher education has centred on its appropriateness and fairness for students, universities and colleges. The unavoidable and large budgetary trade-offs this policy creates – i.e. its effect on other government programmes and expenditures – has however received little attention. While the longer term costs and benefits of fee-free education are difficult to quantify, we look at the large short term adjustments that were necessary in government’s 2018/19 budget. The data shows that significant budget cuts have already been necessary across government, many of which are likely to impact on the lives of the poor and / or the growth potential of the economy.

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Higher education: getting our priorities right

A worrying narrative that has emerged from the on-going student protests is that you are either in favour of free higher education for all; or against it. In fact there are a wide range of options in between available, and these options should be weighed against the country’s other priorities. We look at some of the most important government policy objectives within post-school education, and highlight the tremendous financial costs associated with meeting these goals. Against this background, it is clear that what is required is a transparent discussion of the way forward within post-school education. While fee free education for all is a noble goal when viewed in isolation, implementing it is likely to severely constrain the country’s ability to achieve many other important objectives. Attempting to achieve free higher education for all before it has been achieved for the poor and the lower middle class, and before some of the severe financial and other challenges in vocational training system have been addressed; risks undermining the country’s educational and economic progress and even denying education and training opportunities to those who might need them the most.

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Economics – complicating the obvious

The standard first year definition of economics states that “economics is the study of how individuals and groups make decisions with scarce resources in order to best satisfy their wants, needs, and desires”. I recently had the opportunity to apply my university training to analyse a decision I was faced with in my personal life. It all started when my children’s school sent a newsletter to all parents declaring that hence forth, they will charge a penalty fee for children that were either picked up late from school or dropped off late for school.

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