Editorial: Free online classes will make education more accessible

In a world where university degrees are often used to measure a person’s intellect or ability to perform a job, knowledge seems to be the key to success. But as we all know, it’s not accessible to everyone. Online and in-class university courses can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, making them nearly impossible for people hovering under the poverty line to afford.

To address this problem, universities like Harvard, Stanford, and Cambridge all offer free online courses for people who are unable to afford expensive tuition fees. Unfortunately, Canadians don’t have the same advantages as our American counterparts. Only a handful of universities in Canada offer free online courses, with the University of Toronto and the Cape Breton University being some of the very few to do so. For rural students who can’t afford the travel costs associated with moving to urban city centres for their education, free online courses that they can access from home could be the solution.

By providing more opportunities for people to learn new skills, universities have the power to enrich the greater Canadian community, and encourage knowledge-seeking in our society. Beyond this, universities have the ability to truly be a part of bringing equal opportunity to all citizens regardless of gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class.

To push back against rising credentialism, to provide equal opportunities to all, and to encourage higher education, universities need to provide more free online courses to those who need them.