Education – Door out of poverty? Hmmm…

Yes, it plausible with technical and pre-university education. According to the organisation, Canadian Feed the Children <Breaking the cycle of poverty with education>, (last updated 2016):

  • A single year of primary school increases wages earned later by 5 to 15 per cent for boys and even more for girls.
  • For each additional year of secondary school, an individual’s wages increase by 15 to 25 per cent.
  • No country has ever achieved continuous and rapid economic growth without first having at least 40% of its adults able to read and write. [Research has to be done to corroborate this.]

Education enables farmers to utilise new farming techniques and technologies. World Bank research found that farmers with at least of four years of primary education were able to improve productivity by an average of nearly 9%. This improves family finances and food security as hungry children/workers have poor concentration and lower efficiency respectively. (The latter might lead to unemployment.) They are also less prone to illnesses originating from undernourishment. This way, excess healthcare costs are avoided. Hence, technical pre-tertiary is a major avenue to escape from poverty.

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Ironically, education may be the exact reason why many students remain poor. Due to the immense and overwhelming debt of financing their tertiary education, students remain hopelessly stuck in the poverty cycle. An article from Consumer Reports, entitled: Student Debt – Lives on Hold (28 Jun 2016), 42 million Americans have incurred $1.3 trillion in student debt. This came about with decreased government funding, hiked up tuition fees, and the encouragement of private sector education loans. Some like Saul Newton had to enlist as a soldier (and fight in Afghanistan) to pay his school bills. Furnished with idea that college would help them live better material lives, a significant number ended up in a debt nightmare instead. Thus, the argument that education breaks people out of poverty is utterly wrong in this circumstance.

Another interesting article: We’re so well educated – but we’re useless. (25 Feb 2013). https://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2013/feb/25/well-educated-but-useless. The Guardian.

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