question is from Ali in India who writes, “I am a college
student in India. I had an offer to read physics
at Oxford which I didn’t take up because I couldn’t
afford the fees. How can we (i) make quality
education affordable for all (ii) improve quality education
in developing countries?” BILL CLINTON: I think there
are two answers to that. First of all, that’s
a problem here too. That is, America has a
good policy on accepting students from overseas. But there’s almost no financial
aid available to students from other countries who come here
through public sources. So I think there probably
should be some sort of international facility. You wouldn’t have to fund
it a great deal of money. But it has a few million
dollars a year which is then given out to deserving, bright,
young people from developing countries who don’t come from
wealthy families, that are admitted to universities
in developed countries. Because his story, I could have
gotten several questions like that from students who
have been accepted to American universities. The second thing is I think we
should really make an effort to create more adequate systems
of higher education in developing countries. Maybe not every country
has to have a big system of higher education. But there ought to be one
adequate system close by in every reason. For example maybe not every
country in West Africa has to have one. But if you’re going to
concentrate, let’s say in Nigeria, then there ought to be
a system to provide funding for people from Benin, Sierra
Leone, and Senegal, and other places. Senegal has a good system. They could go there. I think it’s really important. And the president of Tanzania
is trying to develop a university system there
which will do this. In order to do it amongst all
the other competing demands, developed countries are
going to have to help them. Because if you look at it, a
good model would be what’s going on in the Middle East. I could tar has five or six
Georgetown, my alma mater, has a college of international
economics there. Texas A&M has a college of
agriculture and engineering. The Cornell Medical Center
where I had a lot of my treatment in New York, they
and Columbia are associated. But Cornell while alone went
and built a medical school. Then you’ve got a whole
different model in the UAE where NYU is creating basically
an NYU campus of comprehensive education in the UAE. What do all those
things have in common? They can pay to have it there. Saudi Arabia, under the
sponsorship of the King, has just built the first for
coeducational university in the country. In a remote area, they created
a whole community for a coeducational university. And there are now more
women than men in colleges in Saudi Arabia. But the developed countries
can’t afford that. Haiti, interestingly enough,
because of the involvement of religious institutions, was one
of the few really low income countries that had a pretty
descent network of higher education before
the earthquake. So all we have to do there is
to rebuild it, and try to improve it as we rebuild. But you really got to have some
way, I think of doing it. There ought to be probably an
international conference which sets up a strategy for all the
developing countries within the big countries, and then
regional where there are a lot of small countries clumped
together, to make sure that every child in the world who is
gifted, and motivated, and works hard, has some chance to
get a college education.