There are four moral principles concerned with what is good for individuals and society regarding post-secondary education:
- Education commodification
- Education quality
- Equal access to education
- Education cost
Post-secondary education is now a major commodity and societies and nations have to decide how this commodity is traded and how to protect the consumers of this commodity. “The forces unleashed on higher education have propelled universities to function less as institutions with social, cultural and indeed intellectual objectives and more as producers of commodities that can be sold in the international marketplace” (Naidoo, 2007, p. 3). The post-secondary education entrepreneurs respond mainly to the demand for the education product. Therefore, post-secondary education policy should be used to protect the consumer of the education product, but should not be to the detriment of the post-secondary education entrepreneurs. Such policy should ensure that these education entrepreneurs adhere to nationally and internationally accepted moral and ethical principles regarding the supply and delivery of the education commodity.
As a moral and ethical imperative, any national post-secondary education policy should speak specifically and concisely to the quality of education that needs to be delivered by post-secondary education institutions and to the quality of education received by their students. It should ensure that proper quality control mechanisms are in place and adhered to by these institutions, ensuring that students get the quality education they pay for and deserve. It can do so by encouraging accreditation of post-secondary institutions, reviewing the programs offered at post-secondary institutions, and the validating of the outcomes assessments of the students at these institutions.
Equal access to education
There is an increased demand for post-secondary education because more persons that fall into the lower income bracket of society are trying to obtain a post-secondary education as a means of elevating themselves out of poverty. Therefore, any post-secondary education policy should ensure that no post-secondary education institution, in their admittance or any of their policies, discriminates against its students with regards to income levels. Any qualified individual should be able to apply for and obtain admission to any post-secondary institution regardless of his or her income level and enjoy unfettered access to all of that institution’s facilities.
The cost of education should not be prohibitive, putting it out of the reach of the majority of those who need it most. Any post-secondary education policy should ensure that the cost of this education product is not so exorbitant as to restrict access to only the wealthy or those with sure means of paying for it, while taking into account the need for post-secondary education entrepreneurs to profit from their ventures. Such a policy should ensure that the prices charged are fair for the product delivered and ensure that measures are put in place to monitor and, if necessary, regulate the cost of post-secondary education so that it is not exorbitant and out of the reach of the majority of persons who need it.
The large Guyanese diaspora of qualified professionals would have been exposed to these ethical issues either as students or as educators, and if allowed, will bring their experience and knowledge regarding these issues to Guyana. However, such a policy would need to ensure that only desirable ethics are incorporated into Guyanese post-secondary education culture, such as, quality, accountability, equal access, and affordable cost; and should mitigate the threats posed by education commodification.