Is Education A Right or Privilege

By Hoi Man Chan. Hoi Man is a student at HKMA David Li Kwok Po College. She lives in Hong Kong, China. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Education is a privilege, a privilege which some do not get to enjoy, a privilege which some are granted. Having the right to do something refers to having the legal entitlement to do something despite our race, religion and gender. And having the privilege to do something refers to having a special right or advantage to do something. Despite the different quotes from government officials such as “Education is a right, not a privilege” from Bernie Sanders and “Education is not a privilege, it is a right” from William Clinton, I believe that education is a privilege, but not a right.

Although education is essential for our personal growth and development, education is restricted or denied in some places around the world due to our gender or our financial incapability. Gender inequality and poverty are some of the most serious and prevalent social issues in modern society, it restricts us from enjoying or having fundamental rights. Some people struggle to even support their own living, making school unaffordable as once children are “old enough”, they’ll have to start working and providing for their family. Other people’s beliefs are older, and they might believe that it is unnecessary for women to receive an education. All these factors prevent some children from receiving an education. Thus, making education a privilege when it should be a right enjoyed by everyone. According to an article published by UNESCO in 2017, 264 million out of 1.9 billion children do not go to school. Malala Yousufzai, a girl famously known for surviving a bullet to her skull risked her life to fight for women’s education. This news reflects the importance of urgency to solve these issues as these issues can cause other huge problems such as illiteracy which can, in turn, slow down the development of a country. Fortunately, there are numerous organizations such as the Association for Childhood Education International, Education International, UNESCO supporting global education. A lot of philanthropists such as Andy Lau had also come forward and addressed the significance of education, he donated a huge sum of money to building schools in rural areas., in hopes of providing education to the less fortunate ones.

Some may say that education is a right as we are forced to do it. Laws such as the “right to receive 12 years of free education” law in Hong Kong or “13 years of free education” in USA forbids us from not going to school. Or that our parents are pushing us to do it as they want us to become successful.  Whether we like it or dislike it, education is still a special entitlement and opportunity given to us, it should be treasured and taken seriously. People who receive education are very fortunate, some of them may think that it is meaningless and useless, but it will undeniably serve a great purpose and play a significant role in the future. Education gives us knowledge and experience which we can apply to our daily life, it will certainly be beneficial in many ways.


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