How Can Poverty and Inequality be Reduced? The Role of Education For Sustainable Development in Zambia


Essay, 2020

9 Pages


Excerpt

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN REDUCING POVERTY

THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN REDUCING INEQUALITIES

THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

HOW ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT CAN ENSURE EDUCATION REDUCES POVERTY EFFECTIVELY

HOW ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT CAN ENSURE EDUCATION REDUCES INEQUALITIES EFFECTIVELY

HOW ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT CAN ENSURE EDUCATION PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT EFFECTIVELY

CONCLUNSION

REFERENCES

INTRODUCTION

It is believed that education is the greatest investment a person or a country can ever make. This is because education is believed that it plays an important role in the development of a person or a country. Kombe, PhD (2020a, p.4) adds that ‘education is said to be an investment that increases the market skills and productivity of individuals.’ From the rate of returns, the above claims are evidently proven. It is the greatest tool in the eradication of poverty and reduction of inequalities. In so doing, it also promotes sustainable development as poverty and inequalities are some of the challenges the world is facing and are part of the sustainable development goals (SDG). This makes it a better instrument for eradicating poverty, reducing inequalities and promoting sustainable development.

THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN REDUCING POVERTY

As stated in the above paragraph that education provides people with increased market skills and productivity, individuals earn wages in the labour market for their higher skills and productivity (Kombe, PhD, 2020b, p.4). People earn money as wages or salaries which help them meet their basic needs. As poverty is defined as failure to meet basic needs, through education, people acquire knowledge and skills which make them acquire jobs and get paid in the end. The money they get from their jobs is used to buy necessities. Signifying that people who are skilled earn much in the labour market and that education reduces poverty, UNESCO (2008a, p.9) also states that ‘better educated people have a greater probability of being employed, are economically more productive, and therefore earn higher incomes.’ This is one way in which education reduces poverty.

In addition, education provides human capital. In the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRPS) of Pakistan, human capital is considered as a weapon against poverty reduction (Mughai 2007). Because of that, lack of education is a key factor of income poverty and absence of sufficient income earning. Once a person is well educated, there are a lot of benefits that come along. For example, the ability to make good decisions that will bring success in life. For developing countries like Zambia, human capital is the best asset the country can ever have in the reduction of poverty.

Nasir and Nazli (2000) also adds that education attainment of the household head is a critical determinant of a household poverty. This simply shows that an increased educational level of the head of the household reduces the chances of that household being poor. Stern (2001) also says ‘even the fundamental skills learned in primary school can make a critical difference for the survival of the families when the government services fall short.’ For example, in Zambia, not all of those who complete secondary education end up pursuing higher education and get formal jobs but, young people are seen becoming entrepreneurs and doing other things. Through this, education helps reduce poverty.

Education similarly improves the general living standards of societies. It brings particularly in girls, other social benefits besides higher income. Statistics reported at a march 1999 conference of African ministers of education Zambia inclusive revealed that social returns on investing in the girl education in Sub-Sahara Africa was the highest as of 1999 in the world (24.3% for basic education and 18.2% for secondary education) (Nduru, 1999). It is known that education changes people’s behaviour as a result of the knowledge gained. Most of the changes especially in girls have great impact on reduction of poverty and infant mortality rates (UNESCO, 2008b).

THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN REDUCING INEQUALITIES

Looking at inequality, there are many ways in which it is viewed. Some of these ways are the gap between the poor and the rich and the gap between men and women participation. There are noticeable gaps between the above views and to reduce them, education again is one important factor to consider. ‘A good-quality public education is liberating for all individuals. It can also be an equalizer within society (sic). A good public education tackles growing inequality (sic) and brings us closer together.’ (Oxfam, 2019).

In the poverty reduction illustration above, it is clearly articulated that education reduces poverty. By doing that, it also reduces inequality between the poor and the rich. Reports made by world bank (2019) showed that 58% of the Zambian population earned $1.9 per day as of 2015. This simply shows that wealth was not evenly distributed. Presently, the levels of inequality between the poor and the rich have continued to widen in Zambia. Through education by provision of skills to both the poor and the rich which makes them earn enough money in the labour market, levels of inequality can be reduced and wealth can be evenly distributed.

The other way in which education reduces inequalities is that it provides opportunities for all. It is clearly noted that education is a tool for empowering everyone who accesses it. Graduates graduate from universities and colleges with different skills and abilities which make them compete in the labour market. Everyone has an opportunity of being employed for the skills he or she is having. Through this, opportunities are seen not to be narrowed only to certain people but to everyone. Thus, reducing inequality in the country.

As stated in the above paragraph that education is a tool for empowering people, it empowers both men and women in the country. It also provides opportunities for both men and women to participate in decision-making. In Zambia, a report on gender statistics on women’s representation in local government shows that there was an increment in women participation from 7% in 2015 to 9% in 2016. It also shows that there was 18% women participation in parliament as at August 2016 general elections (Ministry of Gender, 2018). This achievement is because of education which empowers women with necessary skills to participate. education also advocates for the reduction of inequality between men and women through advocating for girl child education.

THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Having looked at how education reduces poverty and inequality, it is important also to understand the role of education in promoting sustainable development. In developing the country, there is a very serious concern that development aimed at developing the quality of life can cause imbalance in the human environment. For example, in Zambia, land pollution with plastics meant for carrying things, deforestation in villages by farmers and many more. To reduce these challenges, Kelly (2006) and UNESCO (2008) argues that education has a vital role to play in helping human beings improve their relationship with the environment and contribute to the ultimate sustainability of the planet. This is seen in a number of factors.

Firstly, education provides human resource needed to promote sustainable development. For sustainable development to be achieved, there is need for skilled and trained people to work in various sectors or departments of the country. There is need for skilled and trained people to fill up certain position in different departments of the country. Through education, every year many graduates graduate from different universities and colleges to fill necessary offices.

Secondly, it provides also human resource with a sound mindset to better understand these challenges and how best to address them appropriately and effectively Kombe, PhD (2020, p.6). For example, a community with an abundance of skilled labour and technically trained people can analyse reports of challenges and address community issues by shaping its approach to these challenges (Mackeown, PhD, 2002a). In Zambia, there is a department called disaster management which is in charge of coming up with solutions to all disasters faced by citizens. The department is made up of well trained and skilled people with the right mindset for them to analyse all challenges.

Thirdly, education provides public awareness of challenges the world is facing. It advocates for sustainable development through incorporating topics for sustainable development in the curriculum. Mackeown, PhD (2002b) states that ‘sustainability requires a population that is aware of the goals of a sustainable society and has the knowledge and skills to contribute to those goals.’ The need for an informed country is very important as it provides citizens with a better understanding of challenges and how best to solve them. Education plays the role of providing a well-informed society which is needed for sustainability. To strengthen the need of a well-informed society in order to achieve sustainable development, UNESCO (1992, p.1) states that:

the role of education is to build a sustainable future based on the fragile balance between competing needs. This balance should not be based on the principles of universal moral but rather on negotiated compromises between an active, informed public and decision-making from both political spheres and the business world.”

HOW ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT CAN ENSURE EDUCATION REDUCES POVERTY EFFECTIVELY

After seeing how important education is in the reduction of poverty, it is necessary for the government of Zambia to improve the quality of education and increase access to it to effectively reduce it. It is noted that being educated has a lot of private and social returns to an individual and the general public respectively. Therefore, if the quality of education is improved to teach learners important life skills for survival and skills that will earn them money and access to this education is increased, poverty in the country can be reduced. The quality of education should not only be improved in one area, but all over the country both in rural areas and in urban areas.

The other way to be considered by the government to reduce poverty is providing job opportunities especially for the youths graduating from schools. As of 2017 in the first quarter, Mr John Kalumbi the central statistics office director of census and statistics made a statement saying that the rate of unemployed youths was at 16.3% in urban and 17.0% in rural areas according to the strict definition of unemployment (Ncube, 2017). That is to mean, there were more unemployed youths than that if they were to use the broad way of defining unemployment. At the moment, a good number of youths graduating from different universities and colleges are jobless wondering the streets of cities like Lusaka and towns for survival. Therefore, it is the duty of the government to provide job opportunities or making the environment conducive for the youths to have something better to do.

Moreover, it is important for the government of Zambia to improve and increase access to girl child education and advocate for more women participation in the development of the country and reduction of poverty. Educating a girl child has a lot of social benefits other than generating income as stated by UNESCO (2008b) in one the above paragraphs. Some of these of the benefits are population control as an educated woman would take time to start bearing children and adhere to the health guidelines (Kombe, PhD, 2020), reduce infant mortality rates and many more. The other important benefit is that women are influential, so involving them in decision-making can bring positive development in the country and reduce poverty.

HOW ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT CAN ENSURE EDUCATION REDUCES INEQUALITIES EFFECTIVELY

The other issue Zambia is facing is the issue of inequality. To ensure that education reduces this challenge effectively, the government of Zambia must improve the quality of public education. The reason for improving public education is because it is the kind of education that can be accessed by almost everyone. As stated by Oxfam (2019) that a good-quality public education is liberating for all individuals, it is important for the government of Zambia to improve the quality of public schools. This can be done through curriculum updates, provision of necessities like books, laboratory equipment and many more. By doing this, everyone from both private and public education will have the quality skills and equal opportunities to compete in the labour market.

The other important thing the government should consider in the reduction of inequality is to maximise the provision to access of quality education to those who cannot completely afford it and to those who can partially afford it by providing scholarships and student loans (Kombe, PhD, 2020c). Currently, the government of Zambia is only sponsoring students at only five institutions namely, University of Zambia, Copperbelt University, Mulungushi University, Mukuba and Nkwame Nkuruma University and only a small number of students are benefiting from this sponsorship. For example, at Mulungushi University, only 300 students are benefiting. It is important for the government to increase sponsorship to other universities and increase the number of students being sponsored. This is because it is the role of education to be an equalizer by providing education to those that cannot afford it.

HOW ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT CAN ENSURE EDUCATION PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT EFFECTIVELY

In promoting sustainable development effectively by education, it is important for the government to monitor and inspect the quality of education offered by universities and colleges. For the country to sustainably develop, there is need for well-educated people with increased analytical skills. To achieve this, the government must monitor the quality of education to make sure that universities and colleges produces sound human resource needed for the country to sustainably develop. By doing this, the government is directly involved in promoting a sustainable future.

The other thing the government must do is to intensify public awareness through education. Mackeown (2002b) states as mentioned in one of the above paragraphs that sustainability requires a population that is aware of the goals of a sustainable society, what is required of them to sustainably develop in the country. Moreover, people should have the knowledge and skills which can be achieved through education to contribute to the development of a sustainable society. The importance of creating public awareness is that people know what is allowed to be done and what is not in the process of developing a sustainable country.

CONCLUNSION

In conclusion, education is an important tool in the country. It is an asset that is worthwhile spending on by both individuals and the government. This is because of the important roles it plays in eradicating poverty and inequality in the country. High levels of poverty and inequality are the top challenges that most of the countries in Africa like Zambia are facing. Through education, a number of ways in which poverty and inequality are reduced are outlined. Some of which are providing people with skills, providing opportunities for all, empowering both women and men and many other ways. There are also a number of important suggestions that are outlined for the government of Zambia to consider in the reduction of these challenges.

As it is noticed that development aimed at improving the quality of human life can cause imbalance to the environment, it is noted that education is an important tool in promoting sustainable development. It creates human resource necessary for the country to sustainably develop. It also creates public awareness. Therefore, it can be said that education is the driving force for sustainable development. Also, a number of important suggestions have been outlined for the government to consider in developing a sustainable future. However, there are a number of other suggestions but only a few have been mentioned.

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Details

Title
How Can Poverty and Inequality be Reduced? The Role of Education For Sustainable Development in Zambia
Author
Year
2020
Pages
9
Catalog Number
V590527
ISBN (eBook)
9783346194671
Language
English
Tags
development, education, inequality, poverty, reduced, role, sustainable, zambia
Quote paper
Christopher Siatwiinda (Author), 2020, How Can Poverty and Inequality be Reduced? The Role of Education For Sustainable Development in Zambia, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/590527

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