LAST Tuesday Alithia newspaper published a long article by a fourth-year student at the History and Archaeology Department of the University of Cyprus, complaining about the university’s decision to charge every student €30 a year for health insurance cover. He took great exception to the fact that the fee was a condition for enrolling students for the new academic year. If they did not pay they would not be able to attend their courses.
It was an astonishing article that perfectly illustrated the appalling sense of entitlement that has been cultivated in our society and now afflicts even its youngest members – those who have contributed nothing but have no shame making demands of it. In fact, the student’s lack of shame in making a big issue out of €30 annual contribution that would give health cover of up to €15,000 (with an excess of €1,000) is indicative of the ‘me’ generation we have created.
His gripe was not about the amount “but the philosophy of this proposal.” The issue was a “matter of personal choice and the university could not force students to participate in the procedure in such an arbitrary way.” And then, displaying the despicable sense of entitlement we know too well, he wrote that the university should consider setting up hospital facilities and “provide students free access to healthcare, covering all the insurance costs that would arise.”
Why are students so special, that they should be provided with free healthcare, when half the population of the country is not? What about expressing some gratitude to the society that is offering them free university education, which costs the taxpayer €10,000 per UCy student, a year? Our youth seem to have been taught by their unionised teachers and parties like AKEL that squeezing as much money as possible from the state is their right. It never crosses their mind that the state has limited resources and was offering students what it could afford; nor do they think about thousands of other students whose parents were paying several thousand euro every year for their university education.
Instead of expressing gratitude that our small state was offering them a high-quality university education completely free they are demanding free healthcare as well, as if they are doing society a big favour by getting a university degree without paying a cent for it. This shameful selfishness and sense of entitlement was exacerbated by the Christofias government’s policy of giving state handouts to everyone studying at university. The current government may have stopped this wasteful practice, but the inclination for a parasitic existence at the expense of the taxpayer seems to be alive and well at our public universities.