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Cost of Education

June 27, 2008

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. – Derek BokFirst Graduations

It is so important to continuously challenge ourselves, learn something new, refresh our knowledge and keep our brains active. Good education instills in us the importance of learning, making us more skilled, understanding and confident.

Someone without education often fails to have clear cut goals and this lack of vision for his own future makes him disillusioned and sometimes destructive. Violence at home, poverty, crime, addictions may be some of the sad aspects of illiteracy.

Education is an asset that helps its owner communicate better and have access to more information. Thus, shortcomings of ignorance overshadow financial strains of education. In fact long term gains of education are life altering.

Each additional year of education translates into an increase in an individual’s earning potential. Wages of educated workers are higher, as are earnings of small business owners and farmers who are inspired to take advantage of new technologies. In fact there is a huge gap in the salaries between those who complete higher education and those who manage to finish high school.

Lack of education translates into much more than just monetary loss. An uneducated person knows and understands little about the political scenario of their country and hence fails to demand rights which benefit them and others around them. They continue to be exploited, abused and ignored by society. They fail to understand the changing scenario of their society and have a hard time adapting to new systems or accepting new ways of life.

Ignorance in women is all the more damaging because it translates into many lost opportunities for not just herself but also her children. Women’s education enables them to marry later, have fewer kids and thus afford better health and education for each child.

It has been found that independent of household income, mothers with primary education have better access to information that can keep their children healthy. Since educated mothers access and use information about health care for themselves and their family, they are instrumental in creating a healthy society. The society also benefits due to lower fertility and the at-home schooling that educated mothers provide to their kids.

Basic literacy is a fundamental right. As defined by the United Nations, it is the ability to read 40 words per minute, write 20 words per minute, and do 2-digit arithmetic. The percentage of poor who are lacking in basic literacy skills is very high. Unfortunately due to lack of education the gap between the poor and the rich gets wider. The best education stays confined to the wealthy section of the society while the section that is economically deprived craves for simple primary education.

One of the important goals of the UN Millennium Project is to “ensure, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, be able to complete a full course of primary education.”

This goal is particularly important for the poorest section of the society. Not only does gender parity in education decrease with poverty, drop out rates rise significantly in low income families. While low rates of enrollment is a huge problem in south Asia, in Latin America enrollment is moving towards being universal in many countries, but drop out rates and repetition lead to low completion rates. Children with disabilities are even less likely to be enrolled in schools. Lack of education thus makes them doubly disabled.

At the bare minimum, people should be able to read and write with sufficient proficiency to manage day to day activities like reading a newspaper, road signs and the like. Obviously there is no maximum. The right education opens doors that were previously closed. Guiding them through new paths, helping them conquer their fears and allay their self-doubts, pushing them to keep looking for better ideas – good education becomes a person’s most trusted friend and mentor throughout life. It is high time everyone in the world had such an indispensable companion.

– Neha Singh


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In Nicaragua 50% of the kids that start 1st grade never make it to 5th grade. Only 93% start first grade. It is our goal to make this percentage drop significantly

$30/month is what it takes us at Empowerment International to put a child in school. If you would like to help a child stay in school and get better life, please click on the link below or contact us

Donate at Change.org

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