Is it a waste of resources for older people to go to college?
  ·  2022-09-26  ·   Source: NO.39 SEPTEMBER 29, 2022

This September, 52-year-old Lu Xinlin was enrolled at Hubei Light Industry Technology Institute, becoming the institute's oldest-ever freshman. In reaction to the news, some praised Lu, saying that one is never too old to learn, and also praised the state for encouraging lifelong learning. However, others lamented that he is wasting educational resources that should be left for the young.

Editorial ( The argument that old people are wasting educational resources by going to college is utter nonsense. By this logic, older people should not go to hospital either, as they should leave precious medical resources to the young.

As a taxpayer, Lu deserves his share of what the state offers to all citizens. He was accepted at the institute through fair competition in gaokao, the national university entrance exam, not through the backdoor. While some may say that, since men retire at the age of 60, he will be unable to contribute very much to society after graduation. However, even if the education resources he enjoys were instead given to a younger person, there is no guarantee that person will contribute as much as Lu will.

In a good society, everyone has equal access to all kinds of opportunities, including the opportunity to go to college. In fact, this kind of society helps people reach their full potential, adding to the society's strength and prosperity.

Huang Shuai ( Nowadays, the state and the whole society are pushing for lifelong learning; however, few people stand by this idea in practice. It is unusual for people to attempt further study later in life, and Lu is undoubtedly a good example. In the process of preparing for gaokao and after being enrolled at the institute, he has overcome a lot of difficulties and now works harder than most of his young classmates. Also, he is getting along well with his roommates in the institute's dormitory, who are more than 30 years younger than he is.

Lu did not choose a university for older people or to go to night school, but opted instead to undertake gaokao, which suggests that he is not only eager for college courses but has the ability to meet the challenges.

Some people may have missed opportunities to go to college when they were young and thus hope to fulfill their college dreams now. Today, the state's inputs into education continue to grow, which is making it possible for more individuals to take part in education.

Tuturong ( A 52-year-old man managed to enter college through unremitting effort: What an inspiring and encouraging story!

However, Lu has been criticized by some for snatching resources away from younger students. This blaming is based on the wrong idea that education is a zero-sum game. This is in no way the case. The admission targets of colleges are adjusted in line with changing realities. In recent years, college recruitment targets have continuously increased and many colleges have not been able to recruit enough students to meet their targets.

The higher the proportion of people receiving higher education, the higher the overall quality of a society. China advocates lifelong learning and encouraging the whole society to be lifelong learners. This will help to increase the country's talent pool, while for individuals, it presents opportunities to improve their situation.

Additionally, access to education is a legitimate right for every citizen. Since the law has no age ceiling for sitting gaokao, people as old as Lu are naturally also eligible to sit the exam. 

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson

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