When discussing the financing of higher education, we must observe the longer perspective and test different solutions in light of alternative scenarios.
Discussion over higher education financing is mainly focused on the current situation and the past. Obviously, the Estonian higher education financing model is far from perfect, but at the same time, it isn’t easy to find ideal solutions from anywhere in the world. By making comparisons based on the data from the past and the solutions currently (still) functioning across the globe, there is the danger of ignoring powerful developments in the future. These developments also impact those to whom we compare ourselves.
Instead of adhering to the current situation, we should adopt a long-term perspective and consider options in light of possible changes. We must differentiate specific trends and undetermined factors that impact the future of higher education. You have to stay ahead of changes, not react to them retroactively. New solutions must be tested all the time.
This opinion article was published in the opinion section of the Eesti Päevaleht newspaper on 25 October 2020. Read more in Estonian here.