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Education as a Wealth Creation Tool – the Ultimate Defeat of Poverty?

It’s broadly accepted that education contributes to the defeat of poverty.

In the 20th century in particular, the major economic powers of the world brought education and progress to many of the poorer nations. Ignoring the capitalism and enslavement arguments (this is neither the time nor the vehicle), it cannot be denied that in today’s world – in the 21st century – the literacy and numeracy skills taken to impoverished countries and cultures has irrevocably changed their indigenous peoples’ prospects for the future.

It’s also enabled those people to have aspirations for themselves and their families. As evidenced by the present unrest and increasing state of flux in Middle Eastern cultures, education helps people to understand and make considered decisions about their own futures. It empowers them to take action against tyranny and oppression, and frees them from state-sponsored enslavement.

In the G-7 nations, where overall adult literacy is much higher, it’s a fact that better educated individuals are more capable of rising out of poverty than their less educated counterparts. It is no longer the case that to be born into poverty is an irreversible life condition. Education makes it possible for anyone to grow, develop and succeed. All they need is the will.

As long ago as July 2001, Jules Nyerere, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, stated at Unesco’s International Workshop on Education and Poverty Eradication Kampala,
Uganda, “Education is not a way to escape poverty – It is a way of fighting it.”

During the World Education Forum held in Dakar in April 2000, the international community underscored the need to eradicate extreme poverty and gave its collective commitment to work towards this aim through education.

Subsequently, the United Nations General Assembly declared the period 1997 to 2006 as the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty.

The role of education in poverty eradication, in close co-operation with other social sectors, is crucial. No country has succeeded if it has not educated its people. Not only is education important in reducing poverty, it is also a key to wealth creation.

Within this context, one of the pledges of the Dakar Framework for Action – Education for All: Meeting our Collective Commitments – was “to promote EFA policies within a sustainable and well-integrated sector framework clearly linked to poverty elimination and development strategies”.

The role of education in this process is particularly one of achieving universal primary education and adult literacy. The report made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations within the context of the Decade for the Eradication of Poverty confirms that universal primary education is central to the fight against poverty. Understandably so, because this is the level of education through which most poor children pass and within which their achievements should assist them to break the cycle of poverty.

In fact, education is the social institution that reaches the largest segment of the population with the goal of guiding it through a systematic learning process.
Source: http://www.unesco.org/education/poverty/news.shtml, accessed 18/08/2015