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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Free education is a political term referring to education that is funded through taxation rather than tuition fees. Although primary school and other comprehensive or compulsory education is free in many countries, in the Nordic countries all education is mostly free (often not including books (from primary) and a number of administrative and sundry fees in university), including post-graduate studies.[1] In Sweden and Finland, there is no fee for foreign students enrolling at a university, although they may not be eligible for the monthly study allowance and loan most nationals are. Answers to some of the frequently asked questions about studying in Sweden may be found online.[2][3]. Denmark also has universal free education, and provides a monthly stipend, the "Statens Uddannelsesstøtte" or "SU", to students over 18 years of age.[4]

Several other European countries, such as England and Germany, have had a history of some form of free education, as has Australia. In the 1970s the Australian Labor Party led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam introduced reforms which ensured free tertiary education. These reforms were removed later in the 1980s by the Bob Hawke Labor government. Students and radicals opposed the introduction of tertiary fees in the 1980s, and played an important part in forcing the Whitlam government to implement the free education system. Ireland and Argentina provide free education at all levels, including college and university.

In Brazil, free education is offered through of the Ministry of Education of Brazil that offers scholarships for graduate degrees, master's, doctoral and post-doctoral for the Brazilians and immigrants who have Brazilian citizenship. The best universities and research centers are public institutions, either financed by the local state (state universities) or by the federal government (federal universities). These public universities provide a great service to the country in preparing professionals. Graduate students can get paid if they qualify for the incentive, but competition is extremely fierce. There has been a proliferation in the last 10 years of private universities, which are interested in providing professional training to their undergraduates. These private colleges are not interested in nurturing research centers, since it is not part of their business model to get involved with research. Elsewhere, free education usually comes to students in the form of scholarship and grants, if they cover all or most of students' expenses while at school. Providers of grants and scholarships may be individuals, institutions (often the school itself), advocacy initiatives, etc. They may have economic (e.g. tax-deductibility), humanitarian, charitable or religious motivations.

There are examples of steps towards free education being taken across the world primarily in those nations developing rapidly, such as China.[5] In some developing countries like Sri Lanka education is free from the primary level up to the tertiary level. The renowned centers of learning in Libya and Cuba may be attended free of charge.



Free education has long been identified with "sponsored education". This may now evoke images of advertising campaigns, but in the past, especially during the Renaissance, it was common practice among rich dignitaries to sponsor the education of a young man as his patron.[citation needed]

In the late 1700s, Thomas Paine was amongst the earliest proponents of universal, free public education, which was considered to be a radical idea at the time.

In the United States, government compulsory education was introduced as free or universal education during the late 1800s, and extended across the country by the 1920s.

Compulsory education is typically funded through taxes. Aggravated truancy can be prosecuted. Homeschooling or private or parochial schooling is usually a legal alternative.

Free education on the Internet

Online education has become an option. One of the pioneering Universities to sponsor free education in management is the School of Business and Economics at Umeå University. Free education has become available through several websites, some of them resembling online universities. Online education faces barriers such as institutional adoption, license/Copyright restrictions and incompatibility, and educator awareness of available resources[6].

Due to the extensive requirements of material for online education, many open community projects have been initiated. Specifically, the Wikimedia Foundation has developed a project devoted to free online educational resources, Wikiversity, and recently, several other sites for specific topics have developed. MyMCAT was designed as a free community project to aid students wishing to take the MCAT.

World University and School aggregates free, open teaching and learning content on the internet. World University and School - - is a global, digital, open, free-to-students, potentially degree-granting Wiki university and school, potentially in all languages, nation-states, subjects and at all levels, using a Wikipedia-with-MIT Open Course Ware model, for everyone, especially OLPC countries and the emerging world, which anyone can edit, primarily by teaching, adding, or learning.

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