Today’s Rzeczpospolita has a mercifully short report on a conference organised by the Szkoła Główna Handlowa (literally: Main School of Trade) in Warsaw. A picture of its former rector Marek Rocki is captioned “Free Education is a Fiction” – a quote from the man himself. What does this intellectual titan mean? “Two thirds of students pay for their studies and the remaining third do not get free education because it is funded by the taxpayer.” That’s right: Rocki has discovered that so-called “free” education is in fact funded. And you thought professors and teachers just came in every day out of the goodness of their hearts, that laboratories and lecture theatres just grew on trees or burst forth from the ground without any capital input and that exam papers marked themselves.
But let’s take a look at the distinguished professor’s argument concerning the two thirds of students attending private colleges and paying their own fees. The argument is that the state should stop funding education because so many people already pay for it themselves. Why do people attend private colleges? Because there is no room for them in state colleges. And why is there no room for them in state colleges? Because the state underfunds education. So Rocki’s argument is: the state should stop funding education because it underfunds education. Genius! There Is No Alternative.