I was reading Tololy’s post on the government’s decision to tax cell phone users 1JD to go towards public universities. And while to a single consumer this may not seem like much to part with, it does add up and the question that emerges is obvious: why? Why should we continue to be taxed on the things we already pay yearly taxes on. This is pertinent question, and not as many have complained about, them not having to pay for things they don’t use, consume or benefit from directly; because that’s not how a country works obviously.
This policy will raise around 4 million JDs. Of course we should keep in mind, what I imagine to be, the sizable chunk that the telecommunication companies received via this initiative.
So I have a better policy suggestion for our government and it is one that is so simple and avoids having to anger millions of cell phone users in the country in addition to having the ability to generate more than 4 million JDs.
Simply reallocate the funding for the thousands of public sector employees who have the government paying for their children to attend private schools and private universities in Jordan as well as private universities in the US, UK, Canada, Switzerland and France.
The public sector is vast and includes many variances so let me take, say, the Royal Court as an example…
Let’s say there’s about 3,000 employees and at least a third are middle to upper management, this latter group is given around 50% discount on university tuition and first placement, which basically means it doesn’t matter what your kid got in tawjihi, they will be put at the front of the line when it comes time to register for programs.
Factor in the upper management which is a smaller number, whose kids go to universities for free. In other words, even if they are accepted at the worst university in the UK (getting in with a 60% average) they are given a full scholarship covering all their expenses.
We should remove the number of employees who don’t have kids. The lower employees have their incomes assessed individually and given a fraction in the form of tuition. Many, if not most, of these employees make around 500JDs on average.
We should also factor in the variances of tuitions; some are way more than others, some are less.
So the number that I came up with was about 2,000 JDs per employee (cetris paribus) at 3,000 employees in a small corner of the public sector.
That’s about 6 Million JDs.
I use this as a basic example of available funding. If there was a study it would obviously be a whole lot more accurate but it would also include various employees who have such perks availble to them in the public sector as a whole: the royal court is merely a fraction of that.
There are of course many many other elements to factor in.
For example: we could include the money lost from a failing student who through first placement takes a seat and a scholarship away from a brilliant poor student (very common); thus measuring the financial loses of that investment: the former producing nothing at all, and the potential of the latter being discarded.
And so on and so forth. There’s that domino effect that needs to be considered.
Suffice to say that if this were the public policy then many benefits would emerge:
1) Poor/brilliant students would be able to get scholarships from the government and would be inclined to give back to their country thus improving it in an infinite variety of ways.
2) A realignment of the classroom where the right students get in to the right program without being rejected because someone whose father works in the public sector had first dibs on a seat.
3) Offers the ability to raise more funds.
4) Spares the government the wrath of millions of cell phone users.
5) Spares the cell phone companies the wrath of millions of cell phone users, many of whom undoubtedly called to complain thus wasting more time, energy and money to address the situation.
And of course there are many other benefits.
The way I see it, before the government goes out to take the money from off the street, they should check their own pockets and dig under their own mattresses and couches.
If a viable source of funding can’t be found there in the first place, then I as a citizen have no problem supporting public education in Jordan.
I just want to know that my taxes are supporting the right students.