Blogging For Making The World A Better Place: 1st Ever #ShoutersChat Recap

Blogging For Making The World A Better Place: 1st Ever #ShoutersChat Recap

Last Saturday, we hosted our first ever #ShoutersChat.

What is #ShoutersChat?

#ShoutersChat is a Twitter chat where Shouters like you from around the world come online every week to chat about a specific topic related to blogging and online marketing.

We host this chat every Saturday at 7 PM IST.

Here are a few benefits of joining #ShoutersChat:

You get to share your knowledge with other fellow Shouters.
You get to learn from people who are a step (or many steps) ahead of you.
You get to network with like-minded people who may want to collaborate with you to build something great.
And of course, you get to interact with us!
Sounds good. Right?

It’s an amazing opportunity to learn, help others, and grow.

Here is how it goes down:

The chat happens every Saturday at 7 PM IST.
We announce a topic for that day’s chat.
We post a question around that topic and discuss it for about 7-10 minutes until we post another question.
We discuss for about one hour.
After the chat, we have a little after-chat party for 10 minutes or so where you can share your suggestions and ask questions.
It’s an amazing platform for you to share your knowledge and speak your mind to attract and connect with new people.

Join #ShoutersChat with @ShoutMeLoud every Saturday at 7 PM IST to discuss blogging and digital…
CLICK TO TWEET

How to join the #ShoutersChat

It’s simple.

Every Saturday at 7 PM IST, search for #ShoutersChat and you’ll find all the Shouters chatting and connecting with each other using this hashtag.

Make sure you use the hashtag (#ShoutersChat) in every tweet to be visible to everyone and stay connected throughout the session.

Recap to the first ever #ShoutersChat

Last week, at #ShoutersChat, all the Shouters discussed the topic:

“Blogging for making the world a better place”

And everyone had a blast!

We talked about how blogging is changing lives, what the personality traits are of top bloggers, and many more really interesting things.

We got to hear some amazing thoughts from Shouters all over the world.

Here are all the questions we asked and the top answers by Shouters:

Q1: How has blogging changed your life?

3 Powerful Tips For Blogging Beginners To Achieve Success In A Short Time

For many, blogging “success” could be reaching out to the right audience or getting more traffic or becoming popular… or it could be as simple as making enough money to pay their bills.

For me, it’s helping my readers to become their own bosses.

The effort that you put into the initial days of blogging defines how fast you can reach the heights of success.

Today’s post is for anyone who recently started a blog or who wants to start a blog ASAP. Here I’m sharing 3 powerful tips that can help you reach your blogging goals in record time.

These tips are in the form of a video. I recorded this message for a group of bloggers for a blogging event in Guwahati, India:

Subscribe on Youtube
Summary of These 3 Powerful Tips for Beginner Bloggers

If you focus solely on these 3 points during the initial days of blogging, your career as a blogger, or even as an internet entrepreneur, will skyrocket. So what are those three things?

1. Pay attention to your foundation.

Pay attention to your foundation

Everyone wants traffic, but they don’t want to spend time learning about SEO, social media marketing, how to write good articles, etc.

Everyone wants to be a successful blogger, but how could they do that if they don’t know what being a blogger is all about? If you spend your initial few months of blogging honing the basic skills of writing, SEO, and social media marketing, then these skills will work as a foundation for your success when you grow.

If you want to learn about writing, I suggest you start by reading the AdWeek Copywriting ebook.

For SEO & social media marketing, browse those categories here on ShoutMeLoud.

Here are a couple good places to start:

A Guide for CMOs on the Integration of Social Media with Traditional Marketing
On-Page SEO Techniques To Rank On The First Page: 2017 Edition
In The Next 15 Minutes I Will Show You How To Make Your Blog More Professional
2. Be Honest

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
How often do you meet people who lie to you or lie to others? After a while, isn’t it easy to spot these lies?

Well, blogging is a tool by which you express yourself to the world. It could be in the form of text, video, audio, or any other medium.

The thing is, when you are honest, your reach increases. People like honest people and they will respect you more for being honest.

Being honest also improves your quality of thinking and sharing because it will make you more empathetic and compassionate. Even if you’ve lied before, you should leave your lying past behind.

Blogging is not for our family, friends, or for anyone else; it’s all for us.

We blog because it’s our space to help us reach out to like-minded people from every part of the globe.

Next time you create a new piece of content, stay honest. Staying honest won’t make your article boring, it will just make it more interesting, and most importantly, authentic.

To make your writing more powerful, you can pick out a few of my tricks from here.

Staying honest starts by not lying to yourself.

For example, if you say to yourself that you will wake up in the morning when your alarm sounds, then do that. There will be no more 5 minutes or 10 minutes of extra sleep. If you say that you will get something done, you need to get that thing done.

This means saying no to unwanted things and becoming true to yourself.

This forms the foundation of making you a better person.

3. Stay focused and dedicated.

Stay focused and dedicated

Think about how you are when taking an exam. You forget about everything else but the exam.

Dedication & focus are the key ingredients for becoming successful in anything.

For the next 3-4 months, you need to forget about everything else in your life.

Have a monk-like dedication, and focus solely on your blog.

Follow this four-step process:

Learn, Practice, Implement, Improvise.
Dedicate 4 months of your time to your blog and I promise you that it will be making enough to help you live a decent life.

This even applies to anyone who doesn’t know a single thing about blogging.

Becoming A Blogging Master

Climbing the mountain of success is only easy if you constantly work toward it.

It doesn’t require you to leave everything behind, but it does require your full dedication, honesty, and a mindset of constant learning.

Are you ready to dedicate a few months of your life to lay down a successful blogging foundation? Are you ready to commit to your success?

How to Improve Spoken English Secretly & Confidently

Nowadays, practically everyone needs to be fluent in spoken English to succeed in career, business and life. Rightly so, for English is the fourth most widely spoken language of the world.

Your fluency in spoken English will determine your future prospects. Large companies hire staffs that are fluent in spoken English only.

Additionally, you need to speak English, or at least write well, while communicating for your business.

Furthermore, you require excellent knowledge of reading English and comprehending words.
Why do we need to improve spoken English?

Admittedly English is the world’s fourth most popular language since it trails behind Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua), Hindi and Spanish.

However, a majority of important text books and study material available around the world are written in English.

However, English is the lingua franca of the cyber world. Meaning, over 70 percent of all websites on the Internet are in English.

Nearly 55 percent of Internet users searched for websites in English, according to a report compiled by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Actually, these figures could be much higher, researchers claim.

English is the medium of instruction of choice at every reputed university, whose degrees are honored worldwide. English is the main language for banking and financial transactions.

Further, English is also the language most widely used in the world of medicine, engineering, law, IT and lots more.
Importance of spoken English

As we have seen, English is indeed very important for our daily lives. However, the most vital linguistic skill we all require is spoken English. Meaning, we need excellent skills to speaking verbally in English.

The better we communicate, the higher our chances of success at studies, work or business.

Generally, most of us learn spoken English during schooldays. In India, for example, English can be selected as the medium of instruction at school.

However, in schools where English is not used a medium of instruction, it can be taken as second or sometimes, third language.

The primary reason we accord such high importance to English is:

The Constitution of India is authored in English.
All Indian laws including the Indian Penal Code and Indian Civil Code are penned in English. However, this was inevitable since they were written by erstwhile British rulers.
English remains the official language at banks, stock exchanges, financial institutions of India. Though other languages are used, English reigns supreme.
National language Hindi is not widespread across India despite being accorded the status since August 15, 1947, due to various reasons. However, English is spoken widely in all regions of this country.
Scriptures of every major religion in India are available in English because of high demand.
India’s currency, the Indian Rupee, prominently displays features such as value ad issuer in English.
Additionally, Indian passports feature English on its cover and other pages.
A majority of job applications and interviews are conducted in English.
Major initiatives of the Indian government including Skill India, Digital India and Make In India use English as the primary language. Hence, to benefit from these, you require great English language skills.
Higher study courses including medicine, engineering, management, law, architecture and design, IT is mostly available in English.

Problems in learning English

Mainly, our own inhibitions and reluctance prevent us from learning English. Generally, students of English-medium school have better spoken English skills.

Sadly, they are reluctant to speak English outside schools. Consequently, they lose practice vital to develop excellent spoken English skills and develop vocabulary.

Understandably, parents of some students are unable to converse fluently in English.

Hence, thousands of students shun English speaking at home and with friends. Inadvertently, they miss fail to develop spoken English skills acquired at schools.

India’s state-run primary education system relies heavily on indigenous or native languages of the place.

Hence, whatever English is taught at such schools, does not impart sufficient skills for students to pursue English practice further.

Generally, schools with English as medium of instruction are expensive compared to those where regional or native languages are used.

Unfortunately, a misplaced sense of nationalism and baseless fears in learning foreign languages deters thousands of people from English learning .

They falsely believe that English learning or English speaking violates their cultural values.

Worse, they feel English learning would render themselves and their families prone to promiscuity or expose them to licentious cultural influences.

The Indian government consistently pursues a policy of promoting Hindi and other Indian languages at its offices, banks, industries, schools and universities while English gets relegated.

Lamentably, this causes a false belief that English learning is insignificant or useless.

Further, these factors have led to significant deterioration in the quality of written and spoken English.

Consequently, educators themselves are not fluent in English causing an overall drop in the quality of training in the language.

Myths that English grammar is complex and requires strenuous efforts to learn, also deters most prospective learners.

However, with sufficient tenacity and verve, you can learn great written and spoken English for success in career and business.
How to Improve English?

Firstly, English learning is easy, so is acquiring great spoken English skills and developing vocabulary.

Remember, age, academic qualifications, gender and location pose no barriers for learning English. The only limitation exists in your mind.

Here are some simple ways how you can learn English:
1. Download Spoken English app on your mobile:

Free courses to learn English are available from special Android-based apps. Popular apps are Babbel, Massive Open Online English Course (MOOEC) and Duolingo.

You can also use Google Translate for translating words and sentences in your native language to English. All these apps include a listening feature.

Meaning, you can listen how a particular word or phrase is pronounced in English.
2. Enroll for online English courses:

British Council India, ELS Language Training Institute offer the best online English study courses. However, they charge a reasonable fee.

These assisted English learning courses are ideal for both beginners and those who want to acquire better spoken and written English skills.

British Council also has libraries featuring superb literature for students. Fees for these courses vary based on your knowledge of English, location and duration.

Customized courses for English teachers and other professions are also available.
3. Classroom study courses for Spoken English:

Hundreds of indigenous coaching classes across India offer courses for spoken English & written English.

Durations of these courses vary from 1 week to six months. Advanced courses can last up to a year.

However, crash courses or those claiming to teach great spoken English skills in a week can be a disappointment.

Generally, such courses offer only very basic training on answering telephone calls, greeting people in English and elementary correspondence.
4. Self study books and guides:

At best, these are useless. At worst, you can consign them to your nearest dustbin. A plethora of self-study books and guides are available in the market, with prices ranging between Rs.20 and Rs. 1,500.

Moreover, these books also promise that you can learn English on basis of your native tongue.

They contain common sentences in your language and translation in English. Motley tips on pronunciation also feature on these books.

Remember, it is impossible to learn English, or, for that matter, any language on basis of such books.

Unless of course you are willing to exert superhuman efforts that stretch beyond any known physical boundaries of our frail human body and brains.

The only book I can recommend you is Word Power Made Easy because it increases your word power that helps for spoken English in future.
5. Private coaching and tutor for English Speaking:

By far, this is proven as the most efficient way to learn English or any other language. However, costs involved are the greatest inhibitor.

A private coach/ tutor can cost anything from Rs.10,000 per month to Rs.25,000 per month.

The greatest advantage of such tutors/ coaches is personal attention.

You can also practice your English skills with these coaches and seek professional guidance on how to improve spoken English & written English.
6. Audio and video study material:

They fare better than self-study books and guides. However, they have inherent issues as well.

Firstly, audio and video study material comes with instructions on how to speak and write English well.

Yet, they lack proper instructions on grammar, formation of correct, comprehensible sentences and use of vocabulary.

You can try this audio and video study courses if you plan on taking a full English language course.

They can serve as starters.
Take help from English dictionary and thesaurus

Considering you have working fluency in English or studying an English course, there are several options available to improve your skills.

To do so, you will have to invest in a good dictionary and a thesaurus.

Some dictionaries you can consider include:

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
Chambers English Dictionary
Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary
Oxford Dictionary of Current English

Here, we recommend you opt for advanced versions of any dictionary for two reasons. Firstly, they contain all English words that are currently in use.

Secondly, they also contain instructions on pronunciations in the international phonetic.

You can buy a dictionary and download one on computer and mobile. Having a dictionary app is a great way to check out on English words while traveling or during spare time.

The best thesaurus we recommend is

Roget’s Thesaurus
Webster Thesaurus

A dictionary and thesaurus are two different types of books.

A dictionary will tell you what a particular word means and its usage, grammar and etymology.

A thesaurus will give other words of the same meaning and their use in sentences. It helps you to expand your English vocabulary.
Other steps to improve your English

Shed your inhibitions, shyness and start speaking in English. There is no alternative or substitute for speaking English.

Of course, you will make mistakes when you begin. Worse, you can become a laughing stock or butt of jokes.

However, persistence and ardor will see you acquire great spoken English skills.

To do so, you can enlist the help of your English teacher or friend who is fluent in spoken English.
1.Read English language newspapers and magazines.

Usually, you will come across new words and phrases. You can look up their meaning in a dictionary.

Make it a habit to read at least two or three large news reports daily. Generally, news reports on Page-1 that are turned inside or extended to other pages are large enough.

Newspapers will teach you how to convey something in the minimum number of words while writing of speaking English.
2. Write your own essays

You can do this by selecting a simple topic and describing your experience in about 300 words. Writing helps you improve grammar and vocabulary.

Writing in English also helps you develop great spoken English skills. To check where you go wrong, ask your English teacher or friend fluent in written English to mark correction.
Watch News channels & English Movies with sub-titles

Watch news channels offering bulletins and news features in English. Generally, English news channels use very simple English since they cater to a very wide audience.

Try to comprehend how a sentence was made and how words are effectively woven.

Watching English movies with English sub-titles is also the great way to improve English.
Develop a habit of reading English books.

Wide assortments of English books that cover almost every sphere of life are available. Reading helps you assimilate difficult words easily.

In addition, you expand your knowledge through reading good books, regardless whether they are fiction and fairy tale or esoteric subjects.
Learning advanced English

Frankly, there is nothing called Advanced English. The term stems from verbal and written skills.

Beginners are those with basic English language skills while ‘Advanced’ means those possessing much higher level of written and spoken fluency.

You can also acquire so called Advanced English fluency through some rather simple techniques. Interestingly, you can do so during your leisure and enjoy immensely.

These techniques include:

Solve Crosswords
Play Scrabble
Participate in word games
Identify missing words
Look up words at random in your dictionary and thesaurus
Read interesting websites that offer unique content on topics of your interest

English English or American English

For the uninitiated, this is just a play of words. People in UK and some 17 countries worldwide who speak the language are called Native English Speakers.

India, for example, is a non-native English speaking country.

English is spoken differently in the US, though the country features in the list of Native English Speaking Countries. Hundreds of words are spelt and pronounced differently.

Over decades, new words have crept into the English language spoken in the US. Hence, the language spoken in USA is sometimes called American.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ): How to Test, Improve & Benefit

Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) began as dark horse. However, it is fast emerging as a prime factor that can rule your entire life- personal, professional, social and financial.

In fact, EQ testing is expected to become an essential tool in testing if you possess proper mental skills for a job.
What is Emotional Intelligence or EQ?

Emotional Intelligence

Simply put, Emotional Quotient is: “The potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, describe, identify, learn from, manage, understand and explain emotions.”

You can find extensive research about EQ on website the US government’s National Library of Medicine. Further, Psychology Today website describes EQ in a slightly different way: “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others”.

It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.”
Are you emotionally intelligent?

Before jumping to conclusions about our own abilities, we need to understand three vital facts.

Emotional Quotient (EQ), in most people, is inborn trait.
You can acquire some degree of EQ skills if you are willing to exert extra efforts.
Pretending you have EQ can land you in serious emotional problems that may require psychiatric help later.

Practical uses of Emotional Intelligence

Eminent psychologist Daniel Goleman is one of the main proponents of Emotional Intelligence and a pioneer of sorts in this fairly new stream of psychology. He says, Emotional Intelligence serves five main purposes.

These are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Proper blend of these emotional skills are vital for all areas of life.

Especially, jobs where you need to deal with other people. Therefore, let us examine these five qualities of people with high Emotional Intelligence.

EQ test
1. Self Awareness: The main trait of EQ

It means having a complete understanding of your present moment. Additionally, such understanding should have proper, down-to-earth realistic basis.

Further, it should be away from own fantasies or grandiose views about yourself. Self awareness also means, you know every single emotion going on in your mind at any particular moment.

However, most of us deceive ourselves by falsely believing we have control over our emotions. Beware, because this can land you in serious emotional trouble when facing adverse situations.

People with high EQ know how to tackle jealousy and anger. Moreover, they think well before doing something. These people are thoughtful of others. Despite, they are able to say no.

They have a high degree of personal integrity and are not disturbed by any change such as new job or home.
2. Self regulation: The vital art of control

You can consider this the most important trait of Emotional Quotient.

Simply put, self regulation means having a complete control over the emotions you feel at any given time, place and situation. However, this does not in any way mean you should pretend to have control over your emotions.

In fact, it simply means you should be able to identify every positive and negative emotion and assess why you feel that way. Furthermore, it means you should know how to control them.

For example, you can hide intense anger or show it. However, Emotional Intelligence means, putting your anger to proper and beneficial use.
3. Motivation: A key leadership skill

“People often say motivation does not last. Neither does bathing. That is why we recommend it daily.”- Zig Ziglar, American author and motivational speaker.

Studies about leadership skills reveal that people with good EQ are usually self-motivated. Meaning, they do not require motivation from external sources and factors. Usually, they will find some very good reason that motivates them to do their work.

Further, good leaders also know how to motivate others in a team or family. They are aware of their own emotions as well as those of others around them.

Daniel Goleman has written an excellent paper titled ‘What Makes a Leader’ for Harvard Business Review, providing great insights into EQ.
4. Empathy: Not to be mistaken for kindness

All of us are kind with people lesser fortunate than us. However, empathy assumes a different meaning for Emotional Quotient or EQ.

Simply put, it means understanding how a particular person or a group of people are feeling at the moment. Further, it means taking into consideration their respective circumstances.

You are correctly able to judge the needs and wants as well as views of one or more persons, even if the other does not show them openly.

Empathetic people have excellent skills at managing relationships at home, society and work. Moreover, they do not form an opinion about a person immediately. Instead, they wait and understand feelings of others.
5. Social Skills: To ensure your survival

Everyone needs social skills for basic survival. In any case, humans are social animals and we cannot live alone, outside a society. You will surely have seen some people find it easier to get along with others.

Presumably, these people have excellent Emotional Intelligence. They use these social skills to form, develop and maintain relationships.

In addition, they focus on overall benefit rather than being selfish. You will definitely find such people putting common good first, without much personal consideration.

Their social skill ensures success wherever they are- family, society and work.
Learning more about Emotional Quotient

Currently, Emotional Quotient / Intelligence is a very hot topic. You will find countless resources to learn about EQ and its different uses.

These include books written by various prominent researchers in the field. Further, you can also take a variety of videos on YouTube to know how you rank for your Emotional Intelligence.

Easy reading material, online tests, lectures and resources for developing your EQ are available free online.
Testing your Emotional Intelligence

Before rushing to download information or buying books on EQ, let us know where we stand. A wide range of free and paid online tests for Emotional Intelligence are available.

However, do not consider these as final results. Some of these free online tests are designed for specific nationalities, races or cultures. Therefore, finding the right free online test for yourself can be difficult.

Moreover, online tests ask only a few questions to gauge your EQ. Very often, these are inadequate to give you correct indication of your EQ Test.

However, this is not a reason to be discouraged. You will definitely find EQ testing centres near your residence. Though they will charge a nominal fee, their results are likely more precise.

Merely because the test questions will be made keeping in mind your nationality, culture and other vital factors. Approaching a new employer with your EQ results can definitely boost your job prospects in some situations.
High Intelligence v/s Emotional Intelligence

A few decades before, Intelligence Quotient- commonly called IQ- was developed. Nowadays too, IQ tests are given to students and graduates. The common perception is that people with high IQ fare better at studies and work.

However, extensive research shows this to be untrue. A large number of people with great IQ levels live miserable personal and social life. The reason is simple- these people do not possess good Emotional Intelligence.

Essentially, they cannot achieve their full potential in life as friend, parent, employee and member of society. Emotional Quotient (EQ) testing helps solve this handicap of IQ tests.
Jobs that require high Emotional Intelligence

Employers welcome job seekers who exhibit high levels of Emotional Intelligence. Therefore, as significance of EI rises, some jobs are especially for those who have great Emotional Intelligence.

Armed Forces
Surgeons and doctors
Nurses and caregivers
Emergency Medical Services staff and paramedics
Police
Front-line journalists for print, digital and TV media
Advertising experts
Community leaders
Lawyers
Military engineers
Charity and relief workers
Diplomats
Teachers
Customer Service staff
Fashion designers and other fine arts jobs

Developing your own EQ

As we mention before, developing your personal Emotional Intelligence can be quite a task. Therefore, taking an EQ test before embarking on any such venture is a wise move.

Once you know areas where you lag in Emotional Intelligence, you may undergo various online or classroom courses. Again, a lot of books by eminent psychologists and experts are available and at libraries.

However, it is vital to remember that mere reading of EQ books and material will not suffice. You also need to practice these vital skills that you learn in your daily life. Eventually, they will become part of your lifestyle.
Benefits of having great EQ

You may not notice, but a lot of employers study non-verbal language of jobseekers nowadays. You stand very high chances of netting your dream job in any sector should you possess excellent Emotional Quotient.

Developing your EQ will also ensure success in your chosen profession. Furthermore, people with great EQ lead happier lifestyles. This in turn translates to better performance at workplace.

Consequently, your higher performance gets you lucrative income.

The best time to start on your journey to develop or improve EQ is while studying. Research shows that younger people find it easier to develop their Emotional Intelligence.

Mainly, because they are open to new ideas and willing to acquire more skills. You can approach your school or college counsellor to seek guidance on developing EQ.

Importance of Education? Essay on Education

Countless words are written daily about the importance of education. Indubitably, education is the only valuable asset humans can achieve. Human evolution over eons is a result of education both formal and informal.

Further, education is the sole basis on which future of the human race depends. Our quest for knowledge is unending and will continue till planet Earth exists.
Understanding education

importance of education

Everyone speaks about education and its importance. Hence, let us understand what defines education. Briefly, education means acquiring knowledge.

In broader terms, education means acquiring various skills in diverse fields that are vital to our life and very existence. These skills can be acquired by classroom training and during course of our life.

Classroom education is generally deemed as formal education. Whatever we learn and imbibe during our lifespan is informal education.

Furthermore, knowledge and the innate human capability to learn continually distinguish us from other living creatures that inhabit this planet.
Essays about importance of education

This is something extremely important. Hundreds of organizations worldwide ask job seekers to write essays detailing importance of education. The topic appears deceptively easy.

However, it is very difficult to write a comprehensive essay about the importance of education due to sheer vastness of the topic. Mostly, people write about empowerment that education bestows upon us rather generously.

Remember, empowerment through education is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Importance of education covers myriad complex topics and their implications upon all of us.
150 Words Essay on Importance of Education

Education is very important for every country. Education begins at home and continues throughout our life. There are many reasons why people need education. It helps them to learn new things, find good jobs and lead a respectable life in the society. The more educated a person the higher is the chances of her or his success in life.

Education is also important for other reasons. Education helps us to lead a good and healthy life. Education helps us to know uses of various types of food and how to consume them. It also educates us about how to protect ourselves from diseases and stay away from bad habits. Education is also important for us to defend ourselves and our country.

Our first teachers are our parents. They teach us how to speak our native tongue and identify things around us. Teachers and professors play a very important role in our life by teaching us various important and specialized subjects. Education helps us to know rules and regulations and makes us responsible citizens of our country.

250 Words Essay on Importance of Education

Everyone knows that education is very important for our life. With education we can do lots of things. Education is the basic requirement nowadays for everything that we wish to do. If we need to work, our employers will ask about our education. When getting married, the bride or groom’s family will also ask our educational qualifications. To succeed in life and make money too, we need education.

There are several reasons why people need education. The main reason being, we need to be alert and aware of things that affect our daily life. It is the need of all human beings to know about what is happening so that they can plan for future and take any steps to counter immediate problems and situations. Nowadays there is a vast choice of education. People can study to become engineers, doctors, accountants, computer experts, government servants and many other professions.

The importance of education can be understood from one fact that educated people live happier life than those who are uneducated. With good education we can make a great career and get more money. The importance of education can also be seen from the fact that less educated people do smaller jobs and earn lesser salary.

All great leaders of this world, scientists, doctors and engineers are educated people. Therefore, we can see that education also helped shape the modern world as we can see it today. Without education, all the comforts and luxuries we enjoy today would not have been possible. Education is very important in our life because we require it everywhere- from the time we wake up till the time we sleep.

400 Words Essay on Importance of Education

Imagine a world where everyone is uneducated. We would perhaps never have worn clothes or eaten delicious food. Possibly, we would be walking around in the forest and climbing mountains, hunting for wild animals for flesh accompanied by leaves, roots and fruits. Above all, you would not be reading this article.

As we can see, education is very important. It is the most important thing in this world. Education is an ongoing process as we call it. What we learn during our childhood stays with us all life, even if we forget complicated lessons taught in schools and colleges. Skills that we learn during our life can actually help us to stay alive. This can be anything simple from sewing a button on our dress or taking medicines for illness.

Nowadays, many people say that education and wealth are closely linked. This is not entirely true. Education does not merely mean a good degree of some great university. Education actually means how we see and perceive things. Above that, education also means how we respond or react to situations. Education from schools and colleges is important because it helps us how to live in a civilized society and respect one another. It shows us how to obey laws of the society and laws of the land we dwell.

Education is very important because it also helps us become rich. It teaches us how to recognize and utilize our skills and use them for a job or business. These skills can be used for betterment of the society, our country and the entire world. In fact, every innovation, invention and discovery made by mankind was due to education.

The importance of education can also be understood from the fact that education decides the behavior of humans towards animals. In a civilized and well educated society, all animals are treated humanely. They are cared for and fed. If needed, educated people give medicines for animals too. In sharp contrast, uncivilized societies sometimes show lesser respect to animals.

Nowadays, education is important because there are thousands of things around us that are made with modern technology. We require education to use these modern gadgets and get the best benefits of technology. Education also teaches us how to respect other human beings. It is because of education that every country has laws that tell people what can be done and what should be avoided.

The wheel and education

Nobody can rightfully claim credit for discovering or inventing the ubiquitous wheel. However, research and archaeological findings vaguely indicate, primitive wheels made their appearance around circa 9500BC.

Rather, some 11,500 years ago, while humans were evolving as predominant species on this planet. The wheel was directly responsible for spawning education. Prior to the wheel, humans traveled on foot.

Hence, their knowledge was limited to things seen, heard and experienced within a specific geographic area. Wheels made it possible for humans to cover larger distances.

Consequently, our ancestors began gaining knowledge about wider areas around their dwellings. Furthermore, wheels began playing major roles in shaping primitive instruments, weapons and utensils.

Wheels made humans more curious to learn about various elements around them, culminating into education as we know it. This perhaps, is the reason why the prosaic wheel finds mention in holy texts of every major religion.
Education means curiosity

Indisputably, curiosity is the sole precursor to education. As humans, we have inherent curiosity about everything. Primarily, we all wish to know about things that directly impact our otherwise mundane lives.

Furthermore, we also love to pry into stuff that is largely irrelevant. Yet, curiosity prods us to learn more and imbibe knowledge. Thus, information forms basis of our education.

Bereft of this curiosity, we are nothing more than vegetative beings. Other living creatures are curious too. However, their curiosity is limited to things that directly impact their life and wellbeing.

On the other hand, human curiosity has no bounds. When channelized or given right direction, this infinite curiosity manifests as education.
Education signifies survival

Survival is a primary basic instinct of us humans. None of us would have survived thousands of years of evolution sans this instinct. Undoubtedly, our existence as a species was threatened over the centuries by natural and man-made elements.

Yet, we survived because of education. Regardless, that primordial education was mere imbibing knowledge from experiences and our five senses.

Paleontology proves that hundreds of living creatures could not survive on Earth, despite being physically stronger than humans.

Education helps us overcome this inborn physical frailty. It gives us an edge for survival, over other living creatures.
Education offers adaptability

Once again, curiosity helps all animals, including us humans, to learn new things. Yet, we differ in one primary function. Humans have natural capability to receiving, processing and storing data we gain from experiences or the five senses.

Furthermore, we humans can utilize, adapt or exploit our data to suit our requirements. This inherent capacity to process raw data from our senses and experiences translates as education.

Thus, we are able to adapt our needs according to prevailing conditions at any point of time.
Education encourages communication

The link between education and communication is unequivocal. In fact, the need to educate others is responsible for development of languages.

Without languages in any form, education could never be achieved. Thus began the human journey towards developing communication, tools and written languages.
Ancient forms of education

As we began evolving, so did education. Here we look at some of the ancient forms of education. Notably, some of these continue today, though in a more developed manner.

Personal training: Usually from parents to child. Since times immemorial, moms and dads have been a child’s first educators. They impart vital life skills such as walking, eating, speech and learning.

Stone carvings: This form of education began around Stone Age. Prehistoric humans began using stones to make weapons and other useful implements. Dwellings were in caves. Further, prehistoric humans carved their experiences on cave walls. Their purpose being to educate others about an experience such as encounter with ferocious animals.

Cave paintings: Humans began painting on cave walls instead of carving. These paintings also educated successors to learn about experiences.

Hieroglyphics: Ancient humans were responsible for developing a rather sophisticated form of education using hieroglyphics. Only qualified people could decipher these.

Religious texts: The Vedas and Upanishads of Hindus are goldmine of ancient science. They were handed down over generations to educate successors. Texts of every religion contain education about way of life to be followed by believers of the faith. Examples are Srimad Bhagwad Geeta, Torah, Talmud and other Jewish scriptures, Holy Bible and the Noble Quran.

Gurukul: In ancient India, students would board at a school. This educational facility, known as Gurukul, educated students, mostly male, in various life skills. Examples of teachings include art of war, essentials of trade, methodology of teaching, medicine and others. The system was similar but more advanced than Western monasteries and hermitages.

Selective education: Fearing vital skills would fall into wrong hands and get misused, ancient humans chose a successor. The successor would undergo extensive training in a particular discipline.
Education as we know it

Meanwhile, modern day education is something we are aware of. Other than some ancient practices, education nowadays is available from

Schools
Colleges
Universities
Military training institutes
Places of worship
Finishing schools
Private tuitions
Internet and online resources

Salient features of education

Without doubt, education empowers everyone. Some of the areas where education helps include:

Poverty alleviation
Busting myths and superstitions
Forging relationships
Scientific research in every sector of life
Financial transactions
Safety and security against crime
Prevention of wars, terrorism and strife
Space exploration, search for extra terrestrial life
Commerce and trade
Law and order
Governance
Empowerment of women
Uplift of economically weaker populace
Arts and crafts
Communications, including use of the Internet

Importance of education for you

Education helps realize your inborn skills. You can bring all your talents to fore with proper education.
Furthermore, education gears you for success. Nowadays, you cannot get a job sans education. However, a good education will fetch dream job.
Additionally, your financial success and stability depends upon education. Other than a great educational degree, you have to be financially literate
Incidentally, people with good education live a relatively better family life. Educated people are less prone to indulge in domestic violence and other evils. They enjoy healthy relationships.
Good education helps you take better, informed decisions. Automatically, this translates into happier, stress-free life.
Moreover, education is billed as the only way to prevent people from falling prey to terrorist networks. Generally, terror networks recruit poorly educated people who lack will to question dubious doctrines. Such people are prone to brainwashing.
Another important feature of education is the use in science and technology. No scientific progress would be possible sans education. All modern gadgets you take for granted are product of education.
Your education also means you are less susceptible to being cheated or becoming a victim of scams. Education allows you to see through dubious ploys and schemes.
Additionally, your health depends upon your education. The importance of education is obvious by the steps you take to prevent disease both for yourself and the society at large.

Flipsides of education

Ironically, the valuable asset of education is not free from its own inherent negatives. You need to be careful and steer away from these flipsides.
Pursuit of education often kills innate skills and natural talents.
Sadly, parental pressure over education leads to suicide by thousands of students worldwide, every year.
In many countries, corruption has seeped into education. Agents offering seats for higher education colleges and universities charge hefty fees to ease in undeserving students.
Schools and colleges force parents to cough up huge amounts of money under the guise of ‘voluntary donations’ to enroll a child for education.
Incidentally, educated people are more prone to psychiatric disorders, substance and non-substance addictions over those with negligible education.
Education is the single largest contributor to unemployment. Generally, educated people are less likely to venture into business. Merely because they prefer well paid, fixed-hour jobs.
Education deceives people into living a higher lifestyle. Often, such people strive for living a life they can ill afford. However, they do so to counter societal pressures.
Paradoxically, education is also a contributor to marital discords, separation and divorce. Better educated spouses try to dominate the weaker partner, causing dysfunctional marriages.

Importance of women’s education

Unfortunately, the importance of education for women is not getting the importance it deserves. Statistics from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Labor Organization (ILO), World Bank and International Monetary Fund are clear indicators that women are missing the education bus.

The importance of education for women cannot be underestimated. Once again, statistics indicate, countries that lag behind in development have the highest number of uneducated or undereducated women.

Sadly, uneducated women are more susceptible to falling victim to human trafficking and flesh trade. Shockingly, case studies in Africa reveal, incidence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was higher among uneducated females engaged in commercial sex.
Why women lag behind

Once again, there are several factors why millions of women miss education despite its importance and significance. Prime among these is myth and traditions. Age old belief that males have to remain bread winner is one of the culprits.

Parents prefer to educate a boy rather than their girl child. Another is chauvinistic approach that women can be relegated to the roles of domestic chores and childbearing.

Thirdly, educating women is a taboo and sometimes deemed blasphemy in certain ethnic and religious groups. Despite understanding the importance of education, parents suppress a girl’s education to avoid wrath from their community.

More disgusting is the false belief that women lack the intelligence of men. Or, that females are physically weaker compared to males. Generally, people subscribing to this bogus theory, deprive girls of education.
Education for transgender people

Recently, countries like India are taking initiatives to open education for transgender people. However, the task ahead is uphill in a country where myths sometimes rule supreme.

The initiative is however laudable since it signifies the importance of education. An increasing number of transgender people are now waking to benefits of education.

Progress is slow but expected to gather momentum over the next few years. Educating transgender community is vital since it will help assimilate them into mainstream society.

Secondly, education will also obliterate their traditional dependency on income from begging and lewd entertainment.
Threats to education

Despite inherent advantages, education worldwide stands threatened by several factors.

Poverty is the biggest enemy of education. Impoverished families in poor countries consider education as unnecessary.
Radical groups including Taliban, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) oppose learning anything except religious scriptures. Such groups are usually terror networks. They fear education will lay bare their propaganda causing shortage of new recruits and funds.
Lack of funds and resources inhibits several countries from offering free or subsidized education for their populace.
Terrorism and conflicts, wars, natural disasters cause huge population movements. Displaced people- or refugees- lack resources and facilities to educate their youngsters.
Poor nutrition is also cited as a threat to education. For obvious reasons, malnourished children miss education. Free midday meals are offered to entice children into attending school.

Pros and Cons of Education Loan?

Higher education is desired by everyone. An excellent college and university degree somewhat assures a good career and resultant financial well-being for the future.

Despite inherent advantages of superior education, a growing number of students find themselves stonewalled due to lack of finances. Shortage of funds to pursue higher studies usually occurs due to economic stature of a student’s family.

Relatively affluent families may lack spare income to pay exorbitant fees demanded by reputed colleges and universities. Educational loans are lifesavers for such students. Yet, a wrong move can land a family in financial doldrums and spell doom for a chosen career.
Understanding education loans

education loan

Educational loan is offered by banks and other established lenders. It covers annual fees payable, entrance and exam fees to the educational institute for duration of the course.

The loan includes expenses on books and study material. For studying abroad, an education loan may cover a student’s living expenses such as hostel fees.

Banks offer an educational loan based upon academic record of a student. They verify if the student is brilliant and has an aptitude for the chosen study course. An education loan is exclusively for higher studies.

Diverting the loaned amount for any other purpose, however pressing or sacrosanct, is not allowed. Banks charge processing fees and other charges from loan applicants.

You can apply for education loan before getting admission to a college or university, to include as ‘Proof of Funds’. Or you can apply for the loan after getting confirmed seat for your course at the college or university. Education loans are given to students seeking higher studies in select institutions only.

In India, education loans are available for studying in over 100 colleges, universities and institutes approved by University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Indian Medical Council (IMC). You can check Vidya Lakshmi to find information & apply for the loan.

For studies abroad, job-oriented professional graduate and post-graduate courses like MCA, MBA, MS, courses conducted by CIMA – London, CPA – USA are eligible for education loan.

Refer:-

A Guide for Education Loan in India
Apply Loan through Vidya Lakshmi

Amount of education loan

The sum of money you can borrow to fund education ranges between Rs.50,000 and Rs.1,000,000 for studies in India. For studies abroad, you can borrow up to a maximum of Rs.5,000,000. Amount disbursed varies per bank.

Educational loans come with a payment moratorium. Repayment is by Equated Monthly Instalments (EMIs) commences after the course is completed. Loans are of five to seven years duration, but can be extended at the bank’s discretion.

Interest rates vary from 7.5 percent to 10 percent per annum. Some lenders credit the loan amount to the borrower’s bank account. Others pay the educational institute directly, during span of the study.

Loans below Rs.400,000: No guarantor
Loans between Rs.400,000 and Rs.1,000,000: Guarantor/s required. Guarantors should have sound credit record.
Loans above Rs.10,00,000: Guarantor required. Borrowers are also required to furnish collaterals such as plot of land, house or jewellery or other items accepted by banks.

Terms and conditions to avail education loan, amounts given differ with banks. It is advisable to check with your preferred bank/ lender about their rules governing education loans.
Who should avail an education loan

A loan is money spent before earning. Education loan is no different. It is an amount of money borrowed by a student. Parents are co-borrowers or guarantors. The loan is repaid with an interest, which makes the repaid amount higher.

For example, you will pay EMI Rs. 21,370 on education loan of Rs.1,000,000 for a duration of five years with 10.25 percent interest and two percent service fees. Meaning, you will pay a total Rs.1,302,215 to lender. Bigger loans require tangible collaterals. Opting for education loan is thus advisable for’

Students whose parents can easily afford the EMI.
Parents who can offer ‘tangible’ collateral specified by the bank such as land or house that are not mortgaged to any other entity and gold, among others.
Students hopeful of earning monthly income in excess of EMI.

Staying within these parameters is vital. Students will usually experience waiting period from graduation to earning. Freshly employed graduates might not immediately earn incomes that can bear the education loan burden.
Reality check on education, loans

India’s Vice President, Dr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, in a recent speech lamented:

“Almost 59 per cent of students in higher education are enrolled in private institutions. While some of these maintain high standards, a majority are lucrative degree-granting portals where infrastructure is not adequate and admission procedure is not transparent.”

Expressing concern over the lack of research and heavy financial burden on parents due to educational loans, the vice president had warned.

According to the finance ministry data, by December 2014, some 30 lakh students availed of educational loans totalling Rs.70,475 crore. Or about Rs.234,000 per student.
Beware of what you study

In recent years, mushrooming private colleges and universities is churning out more graduates in specialized fields. Traditional favourite streams of study- engineering, medicine and management studies continue to rule high despite low demand.

Indian Medical Council estimates over 200,000 qualified physicians countrywide are languishing sans employment. Medical colleges in India churn out some 50,000 doctors annually.

All India Council for Technical Education reports, 60 percent of the one million engineers who graduate every year, go unemployed. Of the nearly 350,000 Master of Business Administration degree holders from government and private universities, a measly seven to 10 percent find employment.

Those who get jobs find themselves getting paid poorly- about Rs.10,000 per month, a study conducted in 2016 by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, revealed.

Before rushing to take education loan from a bank, consider above facts. Courses mentioned are expensive and a wrong move can cause immense hardships to student and parents.
Problems faced by education loan

Every loan has intrinsic drawbacks. In the unfortunate event of being unable to service an education loan- meaning pay regular EMIs, you can face immense problems. These may prove detrimental to futures of family and student.
A poor credit score

Nowadays banks, lenders look at credit ratings of individuals before advancing a loan. Education loan dents your credit ratings by some degree. Your prospects of a future loan to buy office or home can be severely marred.
Heavy penal interest

A missed EMI also attracts interest. You may end up paying much higher in repayment to the lender than initially planned, adding to overall cost of education.
Financial hardships

Your parents may be forced to cough up stiff EMI amounts should you fail to get a job that buffers this monthly expense. While education loans are availed for a good purpose, they can soon become a bane.
Dropping out

The bank reserves the right to charge you interest for the full loan amount. Should you drop out of a college or university- lenders will levy service charges and other fees for cancelling the loan.
Abrogation of the loan

Several genuine reasons may force you to default on the loan. The bank reserves rights to cancel your loan and seek full and immediate repayment of the outstanding amount.
Inability to buy essential goods

Educational loan may force you to postpone or abandon plans to buy a bike or vehicle that could be essential to commute between home and college.
Bad rating of college/ university

Your education loan may go waste if the degree earned has no standing in employment market. As pointed out earlier, some universities are “mere degree granting portals.”
Inability to change course

Education loans are given to study at specific universities. Options to change university or course, becomes restricted when studying on education loan.
Options to avoid education loans

Several available options can be exercised to avoid taking education loans.

Scholarship: Higher education colleges and universities offer full or partial scholarships to meritorious students. This helps you to study almost free. Apply for these before approaching a bank for education loan.
Government grants: Central and state governments of India offer several grants and schemes that waive fees or help students pay lesser.
Community schemes: Organizations of various ethnic communities provide scholarships and grants to students from their clan. These all-inclusive scholarships are a great way to avoid education loans.
Earn and learn: Earning and paying for your studies is an option offered by several educational institutes. They offer evening and night classes for such students.

Earning for EMIs

When taking education loan becomes imminent, you can help buffer the EMI burden by working. This enables you to settle a major chunk of the borrowed amount before completing the course.

Proper loan servicing results in great credit ratings.It also helps circumvent any financial hardships you may face later. Working also helps acquire soft skills vital to study or future profession.

The flip side however is, your job may take precedence over studies, leaving you little time to earn the coveted degree.
Physical and mental health

Studies indicate, education loans play havoc on student’s physical and mental health for various reasons. EMIs also mean your family cuts expenses on certain things. This causes a cascade effect on students and their family.

The family comes under financial duress. Students are driven to score high at exams- either through genuine studies or stressful memorizing only to pass.
Posted in Education and tagged education loAN.

Higher education in India: Issues and Challenges

Higher education in India: Issues and Challenges

If India has to become an economic power then it has to focus on education.

Government has to focus on both form of education higher and primary.

In this article we are focusing on Higher Education.

higher-education-india

However focusing on higher education does not mean I am belittling the need of primary education.

Both are relevant and both have importance if country has to be changed holistically.

In coming paragraph we will be debating the difference between higher education and primary education.

How both are different and one can’t replace each other. Later we talk about issues and challenges related to Higher Education only.
Higher Education Vs Primary Education

Before we debate about issues and challenges related to higher education we need to understand primary education is more important than higher education.

Why am I saying so?

India’s number one challenge is poverty, we have to lift millions of people out of poverty and we can’t do it unless we focus on primary education.

Primary education starts from Class 1st when child is 5 years old. Primary education does not only mean a classroom, books and a teacher (that is bare minimum) but nutrition, clothes and creating an environment where a child can learn new things every day, an environment that can help in bringing out best within a child.

Infrastructure like chair, table, books, stationery, a classroom and teachers is bare minimum that any government could provide.

They need to do more than that like teaching children how they can imagine and bring out their inner talent that they can use later in their life.

If we have to bring people out of poverty then we need social mobility and social mobility can’t be achieved unless we focus on primary education and health.

However on the other hand higher education does not solve this problem.

Higher education starts when you come out of high school or 10+2.

So if child is 5 years old and live in a family which is below poverty line then the child needs primary education not higher education.

Therefore if government is spending only on higher education that is not going to change the status of child because higher education is all about colleges. And by the time the child living in a family below poverty line reaches the age of 16 his or her mind has already been shaped.

So it is of no use if the government is spending on higher education.

That is the difference between importance of higher and primary education.
State of Higher Education in India

State of Higher education in India is in between good and bad. I mean in a nutshell to say neither it is good nor it is that bad.

So in this paragraph we shall talk about number of universities, colleges, number of teachers & professors and students enrolled.

In the year 2014 India has over 670 universities, at least 38,000 colleges, 817000 professors and teachers and over 28000,000 students enrolled.

There is growth in numbers of colleges, universities, students and teachers year after year.

Different students apply for different courses. Like there are over 14,000,0000 students applied for graduates courses all over the country.

For post graduate there are over 20490000 students enrolled.

For research around 1370000 and for diploma over 1710000 students enrolled in the year 2014.

Now we should also look at the budget issue. How much government of India is allocating for education.

In the year 2014 the government of India spent over Rs 65,000 Crore. This amount is 17% more than the last in 2013.

The department of Higher education has allocated Over Rs 16,000 crore which is 20% hike from last year.

Similarly government has allocated Rs 24,00 Crore for IITs, Rs 1300 for NIT’s, and Rs 350 Crore to IIM’s this year.

So this sums up the state of higher education in India.
Issues with Higher Education in India

Let us talk about some of the issues related to higher education in India.
Teaching Qualityquality_teaching

The first issue that higher education in India is facing is decreasing teaching quality. Teachers are not well trained and qualified for the job they are assigned to.

Some colleges recruit young graduates as professors who have no experience or knowledge. So this is a big problem.
FinancingFinancing

Financing is also an issue with higher education in India. Yes India is already spending very much on higher education and it can’t spend more.

However if the quality of higher education has to be improved then more financing is needed.
Privatization

Privatization is also a big problem that higher education faces.

Privatization

Privatization of higher education is the way to go. However just privatization is not going to solve the problem.

You need to foster the culture of creativity, imagination and learning new skills in young students.
Quota System

Debating quota system is very controversial. But if you are being honest then I must tell you quota is not good for the quality of higher education.

Talent and merit is more important than your identity. However quota system is still a challenge.
Political Factor

Political influence is also a bad thing and an issue with higher education. Governing bodies do not want any political influence or interference in their affairs.
Moral Issues

Younger generation is not interested in serving their country and they are more interested in just taking up a job and a hefty pay package.
Problems with Higher Education in India

So above we discussed issues that higher education is facing. Now we shall debate about some of the serious challenges that higher education is facing.
1. Gap in Supply and Demand

India’s gross enrollment rate (GER) is just 19% which is not good. GER is 6% below the world average and at least 50% lesser than developed world like Australia and US.

This has to change if we have to really improve state of higher education in India.
2. Mushrooming of Low Quality Institutes

Mushrooming of low quality institutes all over the country is not good for higher education. These new colleges lack capacity and they are all about fleecing money from students and their parents.

There is too much glamour and less quality of education.
3. No Project Based Learning

Higher education lack project based learning. Young graduates need to learn new skills especially vocational skills that can give them job.

So we are not focusing on project based learning at all. Just theory is not enough, we also need practical knowledge is also.
4. No Strategy

There is no strategy for higher education in India. We don’t have foreign students coming to the country and studying here.

Government has no plan for this and this is a big challenge.
5. Why Only Servicing Industry?

We are obsessed with servicing industry. We all want to get selected in campus selection so we love jobs in servicing sector only.

However higher education does not solve the problem when it comes to creating jobs in manufacturing sector. That is a big problem.
Conclusion

Finally I will conclude by saying for any country both primary and higher education are needed.

Primary education has its own importance just like higher education has its own importance.

However higher education is very important for growing our economy. Higher education in India has many challenges and issues.

We need to talk about them and highlight so that government can resolve such issues.

Warning: Parents with 2+ children who’ll go to uni, SAVE NOW, the system’s biased against you

The entire premise of our current student finance system is supposed to be “you don’t need cash to pay upfront to go to university!” Yet these days that’s simply not true.  Many parents, especially those with more than one child, will need a war chest of possibly £10,000s.

This isn’t about tuition fees. University fees are automatically paid for you by The Student Loans Company – and you only repay once you leave, and then only provided you earn enough.

In practical terms they works less like a debt, more like a tax, as after graduation most simply repay 9% of everything earned above £21,000 (soon to rise to £25,000) for 30 years. This is supposed to be, financially at least, a no-win-no-fee higher education. For a full explanation see my 20+ Student Loan Mythbusters guide.

So tuition costs aren’t a practical barrier for students, they’re a cost for graduates. The real practical problem is the university costs the State won’t cover – and especially how that impacts parents with more than one child.

To understand the problem with having more than one child at uni, you need to understand the basics first, so let me speedily bash out a step-by-step …

Problem 1: Living loans are now heavily means tested

Student are entitled to a maintenance loan to cover living costs – which is then added together with the tuition fee loan – and all are repaid on the same terms as above.
Yet while every first time UK undergraduate is entitled to the full tuition fee loan, the amount given for maintenance is means tested – and the means tested proportion has increased substantially in recent years from a third to over a half.

Problem 2: The means testing usually depends on parental income 

Even though they are adults, old enough to vote, get married or even fight and die for our country, most under 25s are considered ‘dependent’. So means testing is based on household, in other words parental, income.

This means testing start for those with family income of just £25,000 – way less than average income for a family with two working adults. And it maxes out on earnings of roughly £60,000 to £70,000 depending whether the student lives at home or away – at that point the amount of loan given is roughly halved.

Problem 3: The missing amount is the parental contribution – but parents aren’t told

The gap between the full loan and what the student receive is the ‘parental contribution’ (not officially – but as it solely dependent on parental means testing – it’s self-evident).  Yet disgracefully this is never spelled out to parents.

wrote to the University Minister asking it to be transparent and communicate this properly, but he replied and said no. And repeated that again when I publically debated him on it a few days ago. So as the government won’t help, you’ll need to work it out yourself. The maximum annual living loans for this year’s NEW starters are…

– Living at home: £7,097
– Living away from home: £8,430
– Living away from home (London): £11,002.

To work out your parental contribution subtract the loan you get from this. See my full parental contribution guide for full help and numbers on previous years.

Of course knowing the parental contribution doesn’t make it affordable – but at least you’re aware of the gap. And ‘dependent’ students should ensure they at least have the discussion with their parents.

If parents can’t or won’t cough up, their offspring have no way to force their parents to contribute. You can only be assessed independently if you’re over 25 or have financially supported yourself for 3+ years, have no living parents or are caring for a child.

Problem 4: Even the maximum loan isn’t enough

Often parents come up to me on my TV roadshows and say “it’s outrageous my daughter’s halls cost alone is £7,000 and her loan is only £6,000!” The first thing I do is explain the hidden parental contribution system and they’re surprised.

Yet even then, at the level of the full loan, I hear more and more reports that the living allowance simply doesn’t cover basic costs. And that means those on courses with long hours, who can’t work, are in trouble.

So with the cost of living increasing, bizarrely the biggest practical problem with student loans isn’t what you often hear, that they’re too big, it’s that they’re not big enough.

Problem 5 – It’s far worse the more children you have

The means testing of maintenance loans in strict terms depends on what’s called household ‘residual’ income. This is defined as income…

  • Before tax
  • After any pension contributions
  • After allowances for other dependent children

To find the key info of what allowances are made for dependent children, you need to go to page 10 of Student Loan Company’s ‘How you’re assessed and paid guide’ where it says: “We’ll ignore £1,130 for any child other than you who is totally or mainly financially dependent on them [parents].”

In other words if you’ve two or more children at university consecutively, the only concession is that your income for assessment is mildly reduced. Or to put it more plainly…

Even if you need to shell out £5,000 for your other child, the system only counts that you’re paying out £1,130

This isn’t a niche problem.  Most parents have children who are relatively close in age, so are likely to be at university at some overlapping point. To test this I did an indicative poll on Twitter.

It shows well over 50% of parents have children who could overlap. And that can be incredibly expensive – just imagine someone with triplets!   To play this out practically here’s an example…. (I’ve ignored loan size changes each year for simplicity)…

The Medium family have two children. Mrs Medium lives in Manchester and earns £37,000/yr and Mr Medium part-time work pays £15,000. Together their family income, after £2,000 of pension contributions is £50,000.

Child 1: Their eldest child, Erma Medium goes to Newcastle Uni. Her family income is calculated at £48,900 (slightly reduced as her younger brother’s a dependent child living at home). This means rather than the full £8,430 living loan, means testing reduces it to £5,540, leaving a needed parental contribution of £2,890 a year.

Child 2: Erma’s brother Ivor is 20 months younger, and starts at London University the following year. The fact that his sister is dependent means rather than the full £11,000 loan, he gets £8,060, leaving a needed parental contribution of £2,940 a year.

So when they have two children at university the total parental contribution is £5,830 a year.

Just to stretch the point, compare that to what the parental contribution would be if there’d been only children from separate families (on the same income). Erma family would’ve had a parental contribution of £3,030 and Ivor £3,080. So only an extra £140 needed from two families.

The parental contribution ready reckoner for those with multiple children at Uni

To help I’ve drawn up this quick table that sets out for you, as the system currently is, how much the parental contribution is likely to be each year.

Annual parental contribution. Student(s) living at home
Parental Income 1 child at Uni 2 at Uni 3 at Uni
£25,000 or less £0 £0 £0
£30,000 £600 £920 £980
£40,000 £1,800 £3,320 £4,570
£50,000 £2,990 £5,710 £8,160
£60,000+ £3,970 £7,950 £11,750
Annual parental contribution. Student(s) living away (outside London)
Parental Income 1 child at Uni 2 at Uni 3 at Uni
£25,000 or less £0 £0 £0
£30,000 £610 £940 £990
£40,000 £1,820 £3,360 £4,630
£50,000 £3,030 £5,780 £8,260
£60,000 £4,240 £8,200 £11,890
Annual parental contribution. Student(s) living away (in London)
Parental Income 1 child at Uni 2 at Uni 3 at Uni
£25,000 or less £0 £0 £0
£30,000 £610 £950 £1,010
£40,000 £1,850 £3,420 £4,710
£50,000 £3,080 £5,880 £8,400
£60,000 £4,310 £8,340 £12,100

PS Obviously I’ve not covered every eventuality here. You may have one child living at home and one away, but hopefully these tables give you a rough indication of how it works.

Will some feel the need to ‘pick’ which child can go to Uni?

As you can see at the extreme level some parents will need to fork out over £12,000 a year. My concern is it means some families will need to ‘pick’ which child goes to university – denying the other. Do let me know if that’s you feel pressured to do that in the discussion below.

For most, prioritising one child would be on academic or career merit. Yet even worse there are still likely some in society who value girl’s education less than a boys, and we could be going back to the dark ages.

What can prospective parents and students do about it?

While many editorials are about the size of student debt – the complaints I hear most from parents and students are all about living costs. Yet many only learn this once they get to university as the debate is so skewed towards “debt”.

Until more understand our misnamed system (I’ve campaigned for it to be renamed a graduate contribution system not a debt) genuine practical problems like this will continue to be missed. From a political perspective talk to your local MP, and other parents so many more are prepared. It’d be nice to think things will change, but I see little appetite for that at the moment.

So in practical terms, while I’ve always argued don’t pay tuition fees upfront, unless things change parents will need to save up to ensure you’ve cash set aside to support your child’s living costs while at uni.

I’d love to hear your views, whether you knew about it, and if you’ve been impacted how you dealt with it…

Are student loans broken? What I told Uni Minister Jo Johnson

If you read the papers you’d think the answer is a clear cut yes. I too agree, to an extent. Yet the most commonly quoted problems tend not to be what worries me most, and the things least mentioned can hurt.   

On Tuesday, MSE organised an event at the Tory party conference, where I debated this subject with University Minister Jo Johnson, chaired by Nick Hillman, Director, Higher Education Policy Institute.

My core aim was to try and push that if this scheme is to continue it needs renaming and reshaping. That was picked up by The Times Higher that reported Minister agrees student loans should be renamed as did The Telegraph. While the tabloids focused on Tory minister tells students to live frugally – though to be fair what he actually said is that some students want to do that, rather than all should.

This was an important debate, so I thought, as we weren’t allowed to broadcast it, it’s worth noting down for posterity my opening remarks (it’s up to the minister if he chooses to publish his). Below is a transcript (edited to make it a bit easier to read and with added sections), though I speak freehand and sometimes with venom, so it’s not the easiest transcript to scan as it misses that tone.

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The Chair opened by asking me what I thought of the announcement a few days before, that the student loan repayment threshold was to be increased to £25,000 u-turning the prior decision to freeze it (read why the student loan repayment U-turn is so important).

I think as somebody who has called the Government liars, backtracking, sold out a generation of students on behalf of freezing the threshold, hired lawyers to investigate trying to overturn it you could say I’m a little bit pleased at the U-turn this week.

So, yeah, absolutely the right move, important to say that I am not opposed to cutting interest rates at all. I just think if you’ve got a block of money the first place to put it is in increasing the repayment threshold. Cutting interest rates, increasing maintenance loans are very important too. But if you’ve got one block of money, start with increasing the threshold, that retrospective change was bad, but I’ll come on to that formally in a second.

First, I’d like to frame exactly what I’m going to talk about today.

Today’s debate is about how we reshape the current system

Clearly, the landscape in student finance has changed, the Labour Party are talking about no tuition fees, so they are saying the cost of their education should be met through general taxation – a perfectly valid and honest theory and philosophy.

But we are here at the Conservative Party Conference and rather than going through that bigger debate, which frankly is not going to wash with the Minister. So I want to be practical, if we accept that the individual is going to have to contribute to the cost of their higher education, is the structure of the way we do that right now correct or not? And that is what I am going to be talking about, but don’t take that as a reading that I discount the Labour view.

Marketisation – fail

The idea that each university is going to be able to charge different fees, that gives the individual a choice of how much they want to pay for their education, has been a robust and absolute unmitigated failure.

Almost every institution charges the same amount. It hasn’t worked, it should be scrapped. And it is rather ironic that one of the prime reasons it is a failure, is because it should have been a failure.

The way we have set up the repayment of student finance which says you repay 9% of everything above a threshold, currently £21,000 (but going up to £25,000) for 30 years before it wipes means for the vast majority of graduates higher tuition fees won’t cost them much more.

Only higher earning graduates would repay more on a £9,000 course than a £6,000 course (the original range) once you incorporate the maintenance loan. So, my advice from day one to students was to choose the right course and ignore the tuition fees, because you will only have to repay more if you earn a shed load of money once you leave – in which case chose the right course to hope that happens.

So it would be counter logical for marketisation to have worked in any way. So I think we really need think about how that one is affected and I think part of the problem of that I am going to come onto later is the naming of the way that we do the system. Now let’s move on to that retrospective change.

Retrospective Change: Lack of faith isn’t fixed by a U-turn

Note this refers to the Governements freezing of the student loan repayment threshold at £21,000. It was supposed to go up with average earnings from 2017. 

This was disastrous, and the fact there has been a u-turn hasn’t stopped the disaster. The disaster is very plain.

When a student and their parents, grandparents make the decision to go to university they are weighing in many factors. We hope they are looking at the finance. It is over a very long period. And what they want to know is what I am signing up to is what I will get.

In the past we had never seen a substantial retrospective change to the terms and conditions of going to university. We got it for 2012 starters. The breach of the very loud promise made by David Willets – and I have letters written by David Willets to parents that say from 2017 the threshold will go up, with no caveats, no mention of terms and conditions.

There is no commercial company who has a loan based system who would have been allowed to make that change, even though it wasn’t in the small print when the FCA regulates loans. It says your core marketing terms must be honoured even if they’re not in the small print, same with mortgages, go check it out – we’ve had this before. They would not have been allowed to do that. The Government have done it.

That breach of promise does two things. First of all, it has knocked the faith of students in the student loan system we have. How can you trust it when there was a change to the terms?  “I signed a contract and you have unilaterally changed the terms – that was wrong.”

The second thing, it has knocked the faith of students in the entire political system because the political classes, and lets be straight as we are sitting here, the conservative political classes, primarily, lied to them and misled them. And while the u-turn is welcome in practical terms, the shaking in the faith has not been fixed.

As someone who put myself out there because I believe my own political view should be secondary to making sure there isn’t one young person in this country who is put off going to university for the wrong financial reasons. The biggest questions I get is what if they change the rules. And that retrospective hike has knocked that forever and that hasn’t fixed it.

We have to ensure that every student knows what the terms and conditions are when they start and there wouldn’t be any retrospective changes. This is crucially important and should be locked into statute or at the very least if we are going to have variable rates and conditions within the student loan that need to be overtly declared and transparent.

For example you could say, “We will never change the 30 year limit. That is locked into statute. We may change your interest rate. We may change your repayment threshold.”  Not in the small print. If we are going to have to explain it, let’s be upfront.

One of the misunderstandings out there this year is that the Government has increased the interest rate. No, the interest rate is unchanged, the rate of inflation changed, and the interest rate is based on the rate of inflation. I’ve been out there defending on that, because it is unfair to accuse the Government of changing interest rates.

You can have terms that are changeable but you must declare them and be open and transparent about them. That has been breached and as always when you breach a rule, putting it right a year and a half later doesn’t put you back to where you were. Faith has gone.

It is no longer true that there’s no need to pay upfront to go to university

I will be publishing a further blog on this next week

This isn’t about tuition fees. This is about the most import and biggest practical problem that students face at university. Affording to live.

[Pause for a cheer, including from the President of the National Union of Students]

Quite simply, we have increased the means testing. We have mislead parents. On my roadshows, parents come up to me and say my kids are given £5,000 and their hall fees are £6,000 why don’t they get more? And I say to them, how much do you earn and they tell me £50,000 and I say you do realise that the full loan they would have got is, let’s say £9,000 and there is a parental contribution of £4,000 and they say, no.

There is an official parental contribution on the maintenance loan.  I wrote to the Minister, he will remember it, asking that in the loan letter, instead of telling parents “your child’s loan is £5,000”, it is changed to say “the full loan for your child is £9,000 because of means testing your child will only receive £5,000 therefore, there is a parental contribution of £4,000 to be had”. Though I would accept “there is an extra £4,000 gap that you need to make up”. That level of transparency is crucial.

It isn’t that the loan isn’t big enough for those parents, it’s that they have been means tested and don’t get the full loan but we hide it and it is somewhere like page 32 in the small print of the student loan literature. It is absolutely unfair and what we are doing now is knocking the faith of people in this system and meaning students cannot afford to go to university because the truth is your parents will need to give you money, they will need to save up and if you’ve got two kids at university which over 60% of parents have two kids within a 4 year gap.

Two kids at university at the same time, even though you are having to contribute £5,000 to your first kid they only reduce the residual income by £1,130 in other words, if you’ve got triplets you’re really screwed because it’s not taken into account. So, what we have here is a real practical problem for middle class parents. Lower income parents get the full loan.

Middle class parents struggling to find the money to send their kids to university and their children don’t have the cash, nobody tells them about this and their children have no way of forcing them to give them the money.  The biggest problem with student loans if we keep the current system is that the loans aren’t big enough, not that they are too big.

The language of debt is psychologically damaging – it should not be called a debt

This is all about changing the name to a graduate contribution system see my student loans aren’t a debt blog for more info.

For over 20 years we have educated our youth into what we call a debt and we have never educated them about debt properly. Even though financial education is now on the national curriculum – I campaigned for it – it is a pyrrhic victory, we’ve not put any resources into it. But secondly what we’ve done is we’ve inured an entire generation into borrowing, because if we say you’ve got to get a debt to go to university then they go on and get their credit cards and their payday loans, it has been tremendously damaging.

The language of debt is misleading. I can’t explain the system, because everyone says, I am going to have this debt hanging over me that I am going to have to repay. No, this is a contribution system in proportion to your financial success after university. By calling it a debt it makes it more difficult to explain. That is why people call to have the interest rate cut rather than raising the repayment threshold. They don’t understand it. If you change the name it will be closer.

So my big ask, if you want to fix this, you are going to stick with this system then get rid of the name of debt. Get rid of the word interest, call it an uprating. This in every other country is called a graduate contribution system. That’s effectively a graduate tax, but technically you can’t call it that because you can’t hypothecate it and you can’t tax people abroad.

Wrapping up (at speed due to time constraint on speakers)

The system is a graduate contribution system and should be called so, but don’t do that in isolation. Give people a guarantee of what can change and what can’t change.

You want to make changes, fair enough. That’s politician’s remit, but be really up front for example – it will be wiped after 30 years, the interest will be related to inflation but we might change it exactly the proportion it relates to inflation. You will repay 9% above the set threshold but we may change the threshold.

Call it a contribution system, lock it in, give people respect so they know exactly what they’ll sign up to. People might understand it better, might respect it better and might start to understand your argument a little bit better about it being shared between the individual and the tax payer. Right now the system is broken cos it aint a loan, and we call it one. 

If you managed to read through all of this, well done, its not easy in the transcript form. After that, then as well as the Ministers statement there was 40 minutes of often robust Q&A and debate, hopefully it did some good. 

 

Why cutting the student loan interest rate will only help richer graduates…

This weekend the papers have been mooting that Theresa May’s Government is looking to cut the English and Welsh student loan interest rate – now at a 6.1% headline rate for those who began uni in or after 2012 – in order to appeal to the youth vote.

I find this frustrating. Not because I object; I’ve always believed on principle that student loan interest shouldn’t be higher than inflation – charging students for their education is one thing, charging them for the financing of their education is a step too far.

Yet if the Exchequer has limited resources to finally shell out something to relieve student loan pressures, cutting the interest rate is far from a priority – in fact, it’s poorly targeted.

Student loan interest rates change every September, based on the RPI rate of inflation the prior March. For this 2017/18 academic year, the rates are as follows:

– While studying: Interest is charged at RPI + 3% (= 6.1% for this academic year)
– From the April after leaving: Then the rate is RPI (3.1%) for those earning under £21,000 and RPI + 3% (6.1%) for those earning over £41,000. Those in between are charged on a sliding scale.

Do note I write students are CHARGED interest, not students PAY it.

That’s because student loan repayments solely depend on what you earn, not what you owe.

Graduates repay 9% of everything earned above £21,000 for the shorter of 30 years from the April after they graduate, or until they clear what they borrow (see my five things every student and parent should know blog).

So if someone earns, for easy maths, £31,000 (ie, £10,000 above the threshold), they repay £900 a year, regardless of whether they owe £10,000 or even if they (absurdly) owed £1,000,000. The same is true of the interest rate: at £31,000 earnings, people repay £900 a year regardless of whether the interest is 3.1% or 500%.

In other words, what you borrow and the interest rate have no impact on annual repayments. Instead, all it changes is whether or not you’d clear the loan plus interest within the 30 years.

Who would cutting the interest rate would actually help.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, it’s currently likely only the highest earning 23% of graduates will clear their debt within the 30 years.

So they would definitely save money from an interest rate cut (as would some who earn a little less than them as they’d now join the club of those who’d ‘clear within the 30 years’.)

Yet those who earn less will feel no change whatsoever from a lower interest rate. In other words, cutting the interest rate ONLY HELPS THE HIGHEST EARNING GRADUATES. Lower/middle-earning graduates are unlikely to gain as they won’t clear much more than their actual borrowing – never mind the interest – within the 30 years.

In fact, for a good percentage of lower-earning graduates, student loans are interest-free (full info on this in my Will you really pay 6.1% interest? guide).

The real horror is the freezing of the repayment threshold.

Contrast that to the Government’s real student loan horror this year – the April 2017 freezing of the repayment threshold at £21,000 until at least 2021 – when it was supposed to rise with average earnings.

All students earning over the threshold will repay more each year than they would’ve done – a real hit especially for lower and middle-earning graduates. And in the long-run that hurts almost every graduate EXCEPT higher earners (see why high earners gain).

The problem here is one of psychology. The interest rate seems scary so we hear large cries – even though in practice it doesn’t affect most. Freezing the repayment threshold is complex so we hear little – but it affects millions. Reversing that is a far greater priority for graduates.

To make policy just to appease fundamental misunderstandings is wrong. The sooner student loans are renamed a graduate contribution system, the sooner we can start to be rational and protect young people who need help, rather than illogically prioritising helping those who don’t.

So to summarise, cutting interest rates – while not bad – should be far from top of the priority tree.

For graduates, unfreezing the repayment threshold is a priority. For current students, interest rates have no practical impact – what does is the fact that many don’t have enough money to live off.

The priority there should be money to give bigger, fairer loans for living and to clear up the poorly operating hidden parental contribution system.

PS: I originally bashed out a slightly shorter version than this on social media over the weekend, in case you think you’ve seen it before.

Related past blogs: 

Is your student loan being sold? The answers we must get from Government

Scrapping of student grants – what it means & how bad is it?

Labour’s plan to cut tuition fees to £6,000 is financially illiterate

Panicked about interest on your student loan statement? For many, it’s nonsense!

Viral letter about mis-sold student loans due to retrospective interest hikes is well meaning but wrong