About the Academic Ranking Of World Universities, I was surprised to see University of Buenos Aires ranked at 151 out of 500. Why you might wonder? Because it’s free. As in, it costs zero to attend. It’s paid for by the State (well, people’s taxes, you get the idea). People travel from all over Latin America (and lately, Spain) to attend because of it.

Now, let me point at something that matters in this context: there are obvious class issues with who gets to have a University education in Argentina (and who gets to pay taxes that do not represent a fair return of investment, so to speak). If you are poor, your chances diminish tremendously for many factors like the need to work for a living and class schedules not being all that accommodating, plus the fact that the cost of photocopies (yeah, we don’t do textbooks that well over there; photocopies are a big part of University culture) are not covered, as well as transportation, etc. All of this conspires so that the working class and the poor are not well represented in the number of graduates per year. The government has been working to address this for the past eight years or so through a system of scholarships and subsidies and there is some steady improvement under way.

However, here in The Netherlands (a country with one of the higher standards of living in the world), they are now raising tuition fees yet again AND the local universities (none of them free) didn’t rank that much better than Buenos Aires. So, you know, if a country like Argentina, part of the Global South/ Developing world has the political willingness to do this, why won’t the Dutch state?

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