The U.S. constitution provides for the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. The Afghan education system has varied substantially through the years, but currently the constitution takes a far-reaching approach: “Education is the right of all citizens of Afghanistan…” and then it goes even further, “…shall be offered up to the B.A. level in the state educational institutions free of charge by the state” (Article 43).

Students here don’t pay for anything. They don’t pay for credits, books, food, or even dormitories. The only two things that I have found that they must pay for are the entrance exam for college, should they wish to apply, and their official diploma, should they wish to have a copy.

There are private schools (with typical private school fees). Some of them may actually be more competitive and better quality than the public schools, but they tend to be more fraught with people buying their grades. The government doesn’t have any way to regulate them so students of private schools end up out of the system, which can be a problem if they want a government job in the future.

In the past, I have talked with friends (some of whom have had education provided very cheaply or others who have debated whether to fund their children’s education). Most of them believe that when young adults don’t have to pay for things they never really understand and appreciate the value of those items. Obviously, each person is different, but at a general level, what do you think? Does this mentality apply to education? Should it be an inalienable right?

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