How Education Can Help End Poverty

How Education Can Help End Poverty

Like a tree, poverty has many roots. However, among the many causes of global poverty, one factor stands out: education. Not every person without an education is living in extreme poverty. That being said, most of those living in extreme poverty do lack basic education. Those living below the poverty line will also be more likely to keep their children out of school, which means that their children will also have a greater chance of living in poverty.

Education is often referred to as the great equalizer: it can open the doors to jobs, resources and skills that a family needs to not just survive, but thrive. Access to high-quality primary education and supporting child well-being are globally recognized solutions to the cycle of poverty. This is, in part, because they also address many of the other issues that keep communities vulnerable. Let’s look at five ways how education is the secret weapon to ending extreme poverty.

Education Develops Skills and Abilities

Education in Malawi
Education for All

A quality education system supports a child’s developing social, emotional, cognitive and communication skills. Education programs also support the development of knowledge and abilities. Children who receive quality primary education are more likely to develop these assets at a higher level. They can then use these abilities and skills to earn higher incomes or further develop other basic assets.

Education Can Fight Inequality

Before giving people more opportunities to participate in society, we need to address some specific obstacles to participation. Often the most vulnerable people are not recognized as equals in their community. As a result, they lack representation, power and status. But, at an individual level, education is a fundamental human right for all.

One of the biggest inequalities that perpetuate the cycle of poverty is gender. When gender inequality in the classroom is addressed, this has a ripple effect on the way women are treated in their communities. When girls are welcomed into the classroom, they can build skills, gain knowledge and socially grow during their formative years. This establishes a foundation for lifelong learning.

Education Can Decrease Risk and Vulnerability

In many countries, the lives and livelihoods of the extremely poor are often tethered to conflict, epidemics and natural disasters. These act as “force multipliers,” or elements that increase the likelihood that poverty will continue for the poorest countries.

However, knowledge, as the old saying goes, is power. Besides reducing inequality, education can safeguard against vulnerability and risk.

Reduction in Food Insecurity

Food Insecurity
Food Insecurity in Poor Countries

According to Canadian Feed the Children (CFTF), education and food security are intertwined. It is the key to giving poor farmers the tools they need to increase their yields, maximize profits and limit waste, all to keep prices affordable for community members, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). By attending school, rural children learn about good agricultural practices, health and hygiene, enabling them to farm more effectively. By “doubling primary school attendance among impoverished rural children,” food insecurity can be slashed by up to 25%.

Peace and Stability

The connection between conflict and poverty is a serious concern for the international community. Peace breeds stability within communities, giving people the opportunity to raise themselves out of poverty. Education promotes personal agency, giving a person the ability to pursue improvements in the quality of his or her own life and the lives of his or her family. According to the CFTF, those who receive better education are more equipped to obtain gainful employment, giving them better personal agency. Many political leaders agree, such as the Chief Minister of Punjab, Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif, who said earlier this year that education “will help end terrorism, extremism, poverty and unemployment.” Without the displacement and economically ravaging effects of conflict, people affected by poverty are more likely to fall further down the rabbit-hole of chronic poverty and most likely not be able to escape or avoid poverty and promote further peace.


Let us know in the comment section below if you agree that education can help end poverty.