Many students and faculty members from universities across Sri Lanka took to the streets of Colombo and other cities to raise slogans against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and ministers under him. The financial and political furore in Sri Lanka has made students and educators in the neighbouring island country cut down on necessities and confront monetary restrictions.
But the question remains how does Inflation affect education?
When prices increase in the energy sector, food, commodities, and other goods and services, the entire economy is affected. This increase in prices, known as inflation, influence the cost of living, the cost of doing business, lending loans, keeping mortgages, corporate and government bond yields, and every facet of the economy.
Students consume goods such as food and drink, clothing, tobacco, personal care products, housing and travel, plus tuition fees. A big share of the total budget is spent on items which witness the most increase in prices because of inflation.
Research conducted by Economist Alan Shipman, who produced the student price index, it was found that Inflation hits different socio-economic groups in varying ways but students certainly experience a higher inflationary rate because the cost of what they need to buy is among the highest categories of price rises. For many students, higher education is the first experience of independence, and stepping out in an inflationary climate will be a hard lesson in itself.
Since the class of 2000, students and graduates have faced an increase in their tuition fees by 76% in comparison with inflation. Approximately $1.5 trillion in student loan debt is owed by students in the US as of 2021. The debt burden of graduate students is disproportionate. Not only this but the increase in interest rates in proportion to income widens. This is a big dilemma for students who cannot afford higher education without loan assistance.
Inflation also leads to inadequate funding at universities and institutes and this affects the variables such as high student-teacher ratio, lack of modern teaching aids, lack of in-service training facilities, lack of remedial teaching and, shift system.