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Nurul Afiqah Binte Rashid_A0160361R_C01_Problem Solution Essay_Final Draft

Nowadays, almost anything can be bought and this causes ubiquitous


commodification to occur in many areas, for example, education (The
Hedgehog Review, 2003, pp. 5-6). A rapid evolution is undergoing from
free education to a fee-based system due to marketability in education
and the problem is that the massive, increasing cost of studies is taking a
heavy toll on poorer students, especially in developing countries such as
China (Yang, 2006, pp. 52). Since education is compulsory in China, as
declared in The Compulsory Education Law of the Peoples Republic of
China (The State Council, 2014), this makes it harder for the citizens to
avoid the increasing education fees inflicted by the commercialization of
education. Several implemented solutions, such as providing scholarships
and reforming education funding, were ineffective in resolving the
problem of incrementing cost in education fees due to commodification of
education in China. Consequently, an alternative solution, setting up a
financial assistance scheme, is needed.

The commodification of education in China is due to improving quality and


resources for education because such improvements implicate a rise in
education fees (China Education Centre, 2017). Increasing the quality and
resources for education could promise better prospects for students and
this is becoming the factor and selling point for the commercialization of
education. This commercialization is causing a massive increase in
education fees, which becomes a problem in China due to its negative
impacts such as financial problems for poorer families and illegal profiting
from school fees. Yang (2006) reports about unaffordability in education
fees due to the increasing cost of studies which has affected poorer
families financially and further worsens the problem as the resulting
financial hardship has blocked the access to schools for these individuals
(Chen and Yang, 2010). This clearly shows how the increase in education
fees has become a crucial problem financially and causes educational
inequality for the poorer individuals. Another impact caused by the
escalating cost of studies is increased acts of illegal profiting from the
school fees. Schools are taking advantage of educations marketability to
collect extra school fees despite the collection being an illegal act (Chen
and Yang, 2010). In the Compulsory Education Law of the People's
Republic of China, Chapter III: Schools, Article 25, it clearly states that
schools shall not collect any fees in violation of State regulations, nor shall
they seek profits by selling commodities, services, etc. to students or
doing so in disguised form ("Compulsory Education Law of the People's
Republic of China", 2017). This act is unethical and exploits education fees
for illegal profit, which causes unaffordability in education and makes
education less accessible for the poorer individuals.

Based on the negative impacts, it is crucial that the problem of escalating


education fees is resolved as the impacts may cause social ramifications.
For instance, discrepancy in educational inequality will widen the
economic gap between social classes and urban-rural districts (Yang,
2006, pp. 61). Solutions, such as providing scholarships and reforming

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Nurul Afiqah Binte Rashid_A0160361R_C01_Problem Solution Essay_Final Draft

educational funding, are undertaken to counter this issue; however, these


solutions did not resolve the problem fully.

One of the implemented solutions is by providing scholarships. The China


Scholarship Council released scholarships in 2012 (China Scholarship
Council, 2017). The availability of these scholarships depends on its
criteria requirements and place of study. The scholarships could offer to
pay for the students registration fee, tuition fee and even buy
Comprehensive Medical Insurance (China Scholarship Council, 2017)
which helps to reduce the fees for poorer individuals and make education
more affordable; thus promoting educational equality for the less
fortunate. Since scholarship makes education more affordable and
available for poorer individuals, it narrows down the social economic gap
between the social classes. However, it still does not help to improve the
social gap between urban-rural communities (Yang, 2006, pp. 61) as not
all rural communities are offered scholarships and these scholarships are
not readily available for schools in every province.

Other than that, reforming educational funding is another solution that


was implemented. Litao (2010) explains that reforming educational
funding is a movement in redistribution of responsibilities in managing the
investments for education under the local governments. This reform helps
to reduce the schools investment as the costs are covered by the local
government. Moreover, the reform increases educational output with less
investment (Litao, 2010, pp. 59). From this solution, education fees should
be more affordable for poorer individuals as the costs are covered by the
government. However, some studies from the Educational Statistics
Yearbook of China has shown the opposite. Ministry of Education Peoples
Republic of China (2014) reported that the regional gap in per student
budgetary educational expenditure did not narrow the expenditure in
junior secondary schools due to drastic income gaps between provinces.
Based on the study, results show that the education fees are still
unaffordable for poorer individuals and this reform has not eradicate the
problem fully.

Therefore, a better solution is needed and setting up a financial assistance


scheme is proposed. This scheme should be implemented and fully
supported by the Chinese government. It should also be available for
poorer students, based on social class, in every province. Other than that,
it would help to reduce the massive cost of education for these individuals
and provide equal opportunities for all to be educated, by subsidising
school fees from lower to middle income families; thus, these individuals
would not be affected by the rising education fees or be exploited by the
extra cost from illegal profiting since the government covers the cost
of education, institutions cannot profit from incrementing the fees.
Moreover, this solution is effective, unlike the implemented solutions, as
this solution specifically targets the poorer individuals and narrows down
to those unprivileged students. However, there may be such limitations
such as local governments unable to cover all costs so in addition to this

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Nurul Afiqah Binte Rashid_A0160361R_C01_Problem Solution Essay_Final Draft

solution, parents could cover the costs by working for the school to make
up for the fees.

All in all, commodification of education has altered education fees to


increase in China and solutions, such as reforming education funding and
providing scholarships, were implemented but were ineffective in
countering the problem in the escalating costs of education. Therefore, a
better solution is needed and a financial assistance scheme, provided by
the government, seems to be the best way to eradicate the problem
wholesomely because not only does it narrows the social economic gap
between social classes and urban-rural communities but also help to
support poorer individuals to attain knowledge and education at an
affordable cost. Consequently, it helps to achieve equality for most
students to attend school and attain knowledge.

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