Who said 'If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.'?

Who said 'If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.'? Jul, 22 2023

The Origins of the Quote

In my quest to understand the origin of this insightful quote about education, I've delved into a myriad of resources. The quote, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance", seems to have been credited to multiple individuals, thus creating some ambiguity around its source. This is not an uncommon occurrence when it comes to famous quotes; they often get attributed to various thought leaders over time. However, the most frequently cited originator of this quote is Derek Bok, a former president of Harvard University.

Derek Bok: The Man Behind the Quote

Derek Bok served as the president of Harvard University from 1971 to 1991, and again from 2006 to 2007. He is a well-respected figure in the world of academia, particularly known for his focus on higher education. Bok is a big advocate for the importance of education in society, which is reflected in many of his speeches and writings.

The Context of the Quote

It's important to contextualize this quote within Bok's broader perspective on education. He viewed education as an investment, not just for the individual, but also for society at large. In his view, the cost of not providing quality education—a society mired in ignorance—would be far greater than the financial cost of investing in education.

Other Attributions of the Quote

While Derek Bok is often credited with this quote, it has also been attributed to other prominent figures, such as former U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, and writer, Mark Twain. However, there is no definitive documentary evidence to support these attributions.

Education: An Investment Worth Making

Regardless of who exactly coined this quote, its underlying message rings true: investing in education is crucial. Education equips people with the knowledge and skills to navigate the world, make informed decisions, and contribute to society. Ignorance, on the other hand, can lead to poor decision making, divisiveness, and stagnation.

The Cost of Ignorance

Ignorance is a costly affair. It can lead to misconceptions, prejudice, and hostility towards others. In a society, ignorance can breed social and economic inequality, fuel conflict, and hinder progress. The cost of ignorance can be seen in many aspects of society, from politics to the environment, and its impacts can be far-reaching and long-lasting.

Investing in Education: A Path to Progress

Investing in education is a surefire way to promote individual and societal progress. Education opens doors to opportunities, promotes critical thinking, fosters empathy, and equips individuals with the skills to contribute positively to their communities and the world at large.

Education: A Right, Not a Privilege

Education should be viewed as a fundamental human right, not a privilege reserved for a select few. Access to quality education should be universal, regardless of one's socioeconomic background. It is a shared responsibility to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow.

Conclusion: The Value of Education

In conclusion, the quote "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance" serves as a powerful reminder of the value of education. Education is an investment that yields significant returns for individuals and society. While the cost of providing quality education may be high, the cost of ignorance is undoubtedly higher.

Takeaway: The Power of Education

The power of education cannot be overstated. It is a tool for personal development, societal progress, and global advancement. The next time you contemplate the cost of education, remember the wise words often attributed to Derek Bok: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance".