Sacrifice education last during financial crisis



Sacrifice education last during financial crisis
By Zan Azlee

A man has just lost his job and is on the way home to his family. He is feeling sad, confused and nervous. He doesn’t know how to tell his wife that he is now jobless.

When he arrives home, he sees his two daughters playing in the yard. His wife is in kitchen about to get dinner ready. He hugs the two kids and walks straight to the kitchen.

He tells her the bad news. She looks calm and tells him that everything will be alright. Her part time food business is still going on so they aren’t totally income-less.

In the morning, they sit down to plan out their finances. They realise they need to start cutting back on the spending. They just need to prioritise and see what has to be sacrificed.

First thing to go is the regular eating excursions on the weekends. They will still go out to eat every once in awhile, they just need to cut down and not eat at expensive restaurants.

Then, they next thing they have to sacrifice are the annual holiday trips overseas. They know that they can still enjoy time together as a family even if it is just Cuti-Cuti Malaysia.

Still going down the list of cutbacks, he realises that he can’t indulge in his love for cameras anymore. He needs to contend without any upgrades like new lenses and whatnot for now.

They continue to see where else they can reduce spending. She hesitantly agrees to brew her own coffee instead of always going for expensive designer coffee at fancy cafes.

Slowly, as they work down the list, they start seeing that it would actually be possible to survive the current financial predicament that they have found themselves in.

Also by prioritising on what they cut back, they have been able to preserve what is truly important, and that is to still afford to send their daughters to the school of their choice.

The regular savings that they make for the future education of their children will also not be affected. They can’t because they realise that education is something that cannot be sacrificed.

They will scrimp on anything else except for education. That is the promise the man and woman made to themselves. They will sacrifice so their children won’t have to.

Now cut to the bigger picture.

I think that it is unfair that the government has decided at such an early stage of the financial and economic crisis that the country is facing right now to sacrifice something so important.

The move to freeze the Public Service Department’s (JPA) scholarships for students who want to pursue bachelor degrees and pre-university programmes is a bad one.

I am sure that there are many other areas the government can cut back on when it comes to financial spending and costs instead of cutting back on education.

The government can take a page learning from the the man and woman from the story above. It’s pretty simple. Just prioritise and determine what is important and what isn’t.

Sacrificing education is like killing our future. By doing so, when Malaysia comes out of this crisis, what would be the state of our society when so many had been denied an education?

I really hope that the government will reconsider the freeze. And what I really, really hope is that they won’t cut expenditure for another important area – the public health and medical services.

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

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