It’s Time To Invest In Education

Everyone appreciates the value of a good education as a way to develop a career and live a good life. Even during difficult times education is prized as students and parents enjoy its benefits.

Looking back

In past decades many people left education after primary level but in today’s economy further and higher education is valued as a way to acquire the skills businesses seek. Learning the right skills at an early age increases the chances of a long and lucrative profession. Further and higher education institutions also add value to local economies by providing well-paid jobs in non-city locations that support local communities and act as a catalyst for renewal and regeneration. The associated research and development work also contributes to local investment and development. And the rewards of education in all its formats benefit students, businesses and the state through the generation of more and better jobs. For every pound invested in education there is a net benefit to government and a positive impact to the economy as additional returns are gathered by the exchequer. In essence, the state profits handsomely from the allocation of taxpayer’s money to education.

Education institutions operate for the greater good of society, as their purpose is to provide students with the skills and learning needed to build meaningful and productive lives. They carry out research across a range of disciplines and advance knowledge and ideas that benefit everyone. They also help deliver government policies in a way that builds resilience in local economies. Not least because the availability of well-educated students is always seen by business as a good reason to invest in an area.  

Making a contribution

Such investment of course provides a ready supply of skilled graduates that attracts companies on an on-going basis. At this point, the contribution further and higher education bodies make to the economy is well known. And their effect on cities and towns is equally lauded, as they create hubs of activity that would otherwise not exist. International students make a significant contribution to the cultural, economic and social fabric of communities too, as they bring diversity, openness and finance to where they study.

But further and higher education colleges struggle from too little funding, which is a matter that needs to be resolved in a long-term and strategic way. Budget deficits are commonplace as student funding is examined by successive governments but never to the satisfaction of students or colleges. Even so, the number of students attending further and higher education increases each year, as the shift to a digital economy drives up demand. Satisfying such demand however stretches a system that is operationally and strategically underfunded, under staffed and under pressure. 

So, further and higher education colleges provide the skills students need to develop successful careers but it is crucial to fund them in a more sustainable way.