Decreasing Poverty through Schooling

In developing countries poverty is a major concern, with large amounts of the population living under the poverty threshold. Having a population which predominantly lives under the poverty threshold stunts the growth of the country. Creating accessible and free education to those in poverty stricken areas will help lower poverty rates over the course of a person’s life.

In developing countries education is often an afterthought because the focus is on surviving and producing the needed food and resources so for the family sending their children to school does not provide enough support and resources than staying home and helping the family. The term developing country is defined as “a country having a standard of living or level of industrial production well below that possible with financial or technical aid; a country that is not yet highly industrialized,”. Thus developing countries are countries with poor income per capita, poor medical care, and poor education. This can be shown in something called the human development index. The human development index, or the HDI, is a measurement of how developed a country is based off income, life expectancy, and the average maximum years of schooling. Those three different components get put together to form a value which represents the country’s standard of living.

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Obviously, developing countries score lower compared to more developed countries. For comparison, Niger has an HDI score as 0.337 and the United States has an HDI score of 0.914. Since HDI represents the country as a whole using the three factors one can analysis each one individually and strengths and weaknesses which each country possesses. Most influence comes from the amount of money each country spends on education or health.

For example, Sudan which has an HDI of 0.372 spends two and a half percent of the nation’s GDP is allocated to education compared to Norway which spends nearly seven percent of its GDP on education. Developed countries realize education is crucially important to the success of their populace, and thusthe country itself. Schools in the developed countries teach important skills that are needed in the workforce and in society, such as reading, writing, and math, same as the schools in developing countries. However, countries like India who have an average of 4.43 years of schooling, but have a literacy rate of 62.

8 percent clearly illustrates that schooling isn’t as important as it is in more developed countries or as effective. Very low literacy rates presents a challenge for anyone student or child who wants to acquire a career that isn’t merely physical labor. Maintaining a career that is not merely physical labor is near impossible. Being unable to read or write is crucial. Any major job requires paperwork or responding to people in letters all of which is impossible if the person is illiterate. Countries are developed have very high pupil to teacher ratios.

For example, in Afghanistan the teacher to student ratio is 43 compared to Canada’s 17. Trying to control a class of twenty students is difficult, a class of forty plus is near impossible. So if the teacher is describing what a noun is but half the class is not paying any attention they do not learn it. Another example, is if the vocal majority or minority understand a topic, but the other students do not their voices might not be heard leaving them without a complete understanding of the concept. Schools in developing countries have very poor budgets.

Developing countries spend an average of 4.4 percent of their income on education. In comparison, the United States spends 5.5 percent, and some countries spend over 8 percent on education. The small budgets are of paramount concern. A poorly funded education system is like not putting enough gas in a car then complaining it does not take you far enough.

The increase in budget can be put towards a great number of things. The primary focus should be the training and hiring of teachers. With such a large pupil to teacher ratio its hard to accurately teach the students in the classroom due to the large number of them. Also, more money can mean that the teachers will get more training to help understand their role in teaching and what they need to teach better. When a budget is created it is vitally important that it is used efficiently.

One in four teachers do not appear in the classroom in India, even though the budget for education in India is over 250 billion rupees or about 4.7 billion US dollars. Having problems like wastes the small amount of funds that the government provides and then limits the amount of money provided for education on things that students can actually use. Another, large problem facing is the distance in which students and teachers have to travel for school. This is primarily in rural areas where the towns are spread apart and children must travel farther away to get to school.

If there is bad weather the students might be unable to travel to school, because of safety concerns. Another concern is for girls travelling long distances. In developing countries crime is at a higher rate so traveling several miles can be very unsafe for the female students. When female students are unable to go to school gender inequalities began to appear. Female literacy rates are already lower than male’s and the distance and unsafe nature of the trip can continue to contribute to the fact. If the women population is not equal to the male population than your country is only running at fifty percent power.

The distance dilemma can be rectified by creating smaller, but closer schools. If a school is closer more people will be able to travel to it and be able to it and learn. Some may argue that an increase of a countries funds for education may harm their economy and the overall effect will not be worth it. Because if a developing country decided that it will begin to spend .5 to 1.5 percent more of its GDP on education, but can’t sustain this it can cause financial ruin for the country and the people living there.

However, the outcome for the individuals does seem to be worth it. With each year that a person is in school they earn ten percent higher wages. So each year the wages get higher and each year the the amount of money the government gets through taxes is higher. When every child has gone through the education system the returns for the country would be enormous. Universities and colleges are huge centers for higher learning and research. However, universities and colleges in developing countries are poorly funded and are bereft of the needed tools.

Also, colleges produce experts and specialists which the country needs if they hope to grow and challenge on a national scale. Developing countries need these experts. If they don’t have any true civil engineers because their universities are poor or the people that are qualified are too few then the infrastructure of the country will fall even faster. However, funding universities can be expensive. A cost efficient solution to this is through the help of the the organizations of Doctors Without Borders and Engineers Without Borders. These two organizations provide service to people in need and they do teach the people they help, but if they were to expand and educate more people through their projects and act almost as a visiting professor at these universities would help limit costs.

If an engineer were to stay and teach a semester at an university in Sudan about basic engineering and water reservoir construction it could help provide more realistic job creation and help increase the quality of life in those areas. Education is a vitally important system in the developed world. However, in developed countries education is not fully appreciated, because those countries have not felt the full force and impact that it has on well being and growth of the country. If the developing countries were to commit more resources into their education systems poverty and the quality of life would be increased over the course of a person’s life. As of now there are countries where the majority of the population is illiterate and where most people have not been to school or traveled outside their country. If those countries could be supplied the education needed the world, not just the country, would feel the effect.

The future with a more widely educated population is an even brighter future than the one now.