How the EU’s over-regulation stifles education

Anyone who’s been paying attention over the past few years knows that EU regulations and directives are a bane. Brussels interference is rife and is going anywhere. It’s like a rework of the notorious Rule 34 – if it exists, they’ve regulated it.

“So what EU regulations and directives would you actually get rid of?” says the smug Remainiac.

Well, here’s one totally senseless regulation which helps nobody.

Duolingo is a fantastic website where you can learn languages for free – from English to Spanish to Vietnamese to Swedish, with more in development all the time – without adverts. It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. The site is thorough and respected – you can even use your Duolingo ratings on LinkedIn, as proof of your fluency in a language. While there may be better resources out there, I have not found one, and there are certainly none available free of charge.

Learning a language usually requires a substantial financial commitment which puts many off, because they either don’t think they’ll keep it up or they can’t afford it. That’s why Duolingo has such huge appeal. There’s no commitment needed, and it’s there for anyone who has an internet connection. This is a perfect example of where the free market has filled a gap in the market in a way that’s beneficial to anyone who chooses to use it.

So how do they make money? The site’s ‘Immersion’ section allows users to become fully-versed in a language by translating real, previously unrelated content. Not only does this help unlock previously inaccessible web knowledge for everybody, but it helps keep the site free. How can you trust a few wannabe linguists? Because hundreds of users translate the same content, ensuring reliability and accuracy. It’s a solid and respected system – even the mighty CNN use Duolingo to translate articles into Spanish.

All of that’s good, of course, unless you’re in the EU. Enter Bruxelles.

The EU deems this to be “unpaid labour” since there is no financial transaction for users translating content. But that totally ignores the beauty of Duolingo. Users are able to learn a language charge-free and ad-free. That, in essence, is the payment, and the reason why the site is rated so highly. There is no unpaid labour, and if people don’t like the system, no one is forcing them to use it anyway.

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But Brussels rules, and as a result, the ‘Immersion’ section is not available to those locked in the 28-country stranglehold. And this has been the case for some years now. As a result, European Union citizens are denied full access to a website which, in the space of four years, has gone from square one to the “most downloaded education app in the world”.

Frivolous? Perhaps. It probably doesn’t affect your life, but it’s yet another example of how the EU wants to control everything it can.

Regulation is how big business Brussels operates – it’s how small businesses are forced out of the market. Larger companies are able to account for the costs that the EU’s demands bring, but small businesses aren’t and subsequently get squeezed out.

Stop the regulation, and leave us alone.

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