465 TL for a Book
Today I searched online for a copy of The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab, in another course’s readings the term fourth industrial revolution caught my eye, leading me to this book. I found a copy online, for 465 TL.
Only to text my boyfriend, who is not my boyfriend but is my boyfriend, “465 TL, are they crazy?”
For perspective an electric convector heater is around 600 TL, around 20 litres of gas is aound 600 TL, a whole month of pool membership is 300 TL, a whole month of internet is 300 TL – I bought my electric oven for 300 TL.
While I admit Turkey has had quite an economic crisis as of late and the lira has been in an unfortunate downward spiral, 465 TL for a book still remains an outrageous price. An unfair price in fact.
A city where a student’s monthly allowances averages 1500-2000 TL, a book should absolutely not cost 465 TL. That is nearly one fourth of their allowance if not more. It is almost 2 weeks of groceries.
According to a UNESCO report titled, “Embracing a culture of lifelong learning: contribution to the Futures of Education initiative;report;a transdisciplinary expert consultation” published 2020, one of the crucial factors to be regarded in overall educational reform is the idea of knowledge commons, and making sure that knowledge and learning is accessible to all.
I was sorely reminded of this fact today. This book was not available at the local library either and the price tag made the idea of buying it rather painful.
This brought me to thinking that while this sounds like the simplest of snags a student might encounter, it is indeed far greater than that. In a country where access to a book, access to a knowledge comes at so dear a price one has to wonder how many stand deterred. Instead of making our societies stronger, more resilient and more self sufficient we find politicians subsidizing chemicals to poison us and produce enough crops to the extent that to rid ourselves of the extra produce we find ourselves in a dilemma.
Why do we not subsidize knowledge?
While there is funding poured into education in many forms, it remains a harsh truth that defense budgets are always far greater, there is far more that can be done for education, for placing at the heart of it marginalised and vulnerable groups. For subsidizing knowledge, for ensuring that education and life long earning are treated as a birth right and a social right. With education populations can be mobilised to be more productive and high value, they can gain a sense of identity and self worth, become more resilient in the face of conflict as well as employ conflict resolution, be more aware and responsible global citizens in regards to climate change and as communities uplift each other while decreasing discrimination, poverty and inequality.
However, the first step to that is making learning open and accessible, making it easy to people from all walks of life, making “learning cities” and making education as acessible as breathing. This is also the only way to once and for all haul third world countries out of the problems that plague them. Which is also what brought me to this program, because I refuse to watch home burn when there is a way out of our anguish. My project is to start my own non-profit school in Pakistan, with a new curriculum and approach which not only actively uplifts the neglected sectors of Pakistani society, namely women, non Muslims, the poor and refugees, but works on instilling a new mentality at the grassroots level to ensure a different future narrative.