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Can Education solve poverty?

lleyton
Posts: 1
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11/3/2013 12:02:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I am often told by my parents and teachers that education is the way to escape poverty, so I should work hard on studying and getting a degree from post-secondary education.

I am a Hong Kong university student entering my third year in study and I am wondering if this is true or not. It's hard to determine whether all graduates will end up getting a job that has higher pay than if they only had a secondary education background. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc will most probably get a higher pay job right after they graduated compared to if they had not graduated with such degrees. But what about others?

In Hong Kong there seems to be a high labour demand in blue collar jobs such as dish washers, construction site workers, waiters/waitresses, etc. A restaurant posted an ad willing to pay much higher wage (HKD $20,000) than entry level general accounting clerks and administrative positions (generally around HKD$10,000-13,000) that usually require at least a college diploma background, and yet no one answered the offer. Hence now restaurants tend to outsource dishwashing to third party dishwashing companies.

You may argue that a degree might not get you a job that pays higher than if you had not gotten a degree in the beginning but in the long run you will be better off. But then if everyone believes that this is true, then they will try as hard as they can to get a degree especially the poors who strive to escape poverty. Even if it means to speak to the government to establish more universities and colleges for the community. And if these demands are granted, then the extreme case would be 100% of secondary school graduates can study for a degree and the society will be flooded with post-secondary graduates. But then the problem is whether there's enough jobs in the job market for these new graduates entering the market. Well unless there are degrees in areas such as dishwashing and garbage collecting there's always going to be excess demand for these jobs unless some graduates are willing to work in an area that's not their specialty, which they probably have to or else they are jobless.

Hence, I think on a personal level, yes education can help one from escaping poverty or at least have a better quality of life in the long run. But if you look at it in a macro level, applying this kind of decision making to every single individual in the society then there's always gonna be unequal supply and demand in the job market.

Can education solve poverty? What are your thoughts? I know there are many areas that I haven't explored yet in such short time. For example I haven't defined what education is. For far, the education I mentioned is more on skill and practical training more than education on philosophical perspectives, worldviews, etc, on individuals that might impact the society as well.

Please feel free to discuss freely.
ClassicRobert
Posts: 2,487
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11/3/2013 2:38:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I love this topic.

I work with a non-profit which provides a year of post-secondary vocational schooling to bright, yet impoverished, teenagers in Bali, Indonesia. For the past few years, I have been the representative out there, and I've personally taken part in the home interview and selection process. Recently, I decided to reconnect with the alumni.

Of the 58 alumni, every single one of them now has a job, and almost all of their jobs were higher paying than both of their parent's jobs combined. Increase in education can certainly help people out of poverty.

That being said, you are spot on with your analysis of education proliferation; when education is given to everybody, it loses its value. It already is losing its value. Right now, there is a definite surplus of people with college degrees. The key though is to just make it accessible regardless of income without drastically increasing the amount of people receiving the education.
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Cermank
Posts: 3,773
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11/3/2013 3:52:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't think anything can 'solve' poverty, in the sense I don't think poverty has a one off solution. Education can provide you with tools to counter poverty. Not that it is the only way, there's much to be said about real world education too- but an amalgamation of both does provide for an ideal skill set. [ this is where the quality of education comes into the picture, Id say].

In India, for example, there's a pretty good higher education providing framework- but the primary/ secondary education system sucks. The result being, we have a few people who are extremely skilled and enter the management sector/ become big entrepreneurs and then a large uneducated lot into the small scale sector doing typical unskilled work and earning minimal. There is a missing middle scale sector, cementing the problem of being stuck in a specific level of job, cementing poverty.

Had there been a strong primary and secondary education structure on place on the other hand, people would have the means to move up the income chain merely because of the infrastructure that makes it possible. Even if they didn't have a college degree then, for example, they would have the possibility of progressing just because of the skill set ( both social and cognitive) provided by the primary education.

I wouldn't say education would lead to eradication of poverty, just that it provided the skills that have the potential to. The rest depends on how well you exploit those. NOT HAVING basic education though, leads to eradication of the base of this potential in a lot of people.
Cermank
Posts: 3,773
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11/3/2013 4:03:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Another thought thread, I don't think everyone who has a degree is *educated*. So 100% education, IF provided in that context,( I.e 100% of the people are educated on their respective fields, and the fields are diverse, I do see a potential of poverty eradication merely because the job structure would change so drastically- you'd have people NOT employed making their own source of employment.
slo1
Posts: 4,314
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11/4/2013 10:37:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
1. For an individual and education simply gives an individual more skills/knowledge, which can be parlayed into real $. If you are looking to get out of poverty education is going to be your primary tool to do so.

2. Education as a whole will not eliminate poverty. With our current understanding and our current biological social tendencies as humans, there is nothing that can do to create a flat wealth bell curve or even one where the left tail is above "poverty" (of course that depends upon the level at which "poverty" is set. One of the largest reasons for being unattainable is that education requires a willing partner to be educated. One can't be forced to be educated to a level which will increase odds of better job.

3. Education could be improved to eliminate or mitigate some of the problem areas.

A. Be better at attracting people where demand and future demand will be. (all countries have a hard time staffing technical workers)
B. Be better with eliminating inefficiencies with the knowledge transfer process. (eliminate large campuses, expand self learning with assistance, etc.)
C. Start training for trade related careers in highschool. (repair, plumbing, dental assistant, etc)
D. Here is one that many don't think about, reevaluate restrictions on profession licenses and create new classifications so we are not over paying for services that a profession is really over qualified to do. This would open an entire arm of sub professions, which in turn because qualifications better match the services rendered reduce costs.
An example:
1. Using RN as general practitioner rather than Dr. The general practitioner role in the US is over qualified for what they offer.
2. Different levels of legal certifications. If one wants to focus on vehicle and insurance liability/claims, there really is no reason to go 3 years to law school.
3. There are many examples of where we have produced over qualified professionals who over paid for their schooling, which keeps supply down.

All in all, while education would not eliminate poverty when done right it is the best tool to get people out of poverty. It works much better than simply handing people who are poor monies to spend how they see fit or any other technique out there.
pampeh
Posts: 1
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12/23/2013 5:34:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
According to me yes it can! Education makes a person literate. It opens up the avenue of opportunities for an individual. It makes a person to come up with better and appropriate decisions. Everything collectively will help in removing poverty. Furthermore, education is now digitalized so eventually it will be a great factor in reducing poverty in under developed countries. I have been reading a report few days back shared by http://www.writengine.com... and they discussed the similar things.
nummi
Posts: 294
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12/23/2013 5:53:33 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Poverty is dictated by capitalism. As long as there is capitalism there is poverty. Capitalism is a form of slavery, with an illusion of freedom, as everything revolves around money and if you don't have it then you are subjected, without a choice, to live by it and by those who have it and can give it to you.

Just education itself can not remove capitalism, you may tell and "teach" people however much you want, it does not guarantee they will understand any of it, because of how they we're raised, what they have come to expect and have known their whole life. People in general don't think ahead and deeper, those people don't even have that mental capacity, they go for the easiest right in front of them. To fix it people, next generations, should be raised from birth onward with different values, superior values to present ones, to start with.
DanT
Posts: 5,693
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12/23/2013 7:06:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Can education solve poverty? No. The reason being is that the poverty line is arbitrary. Can education even the playing field? Yes, yes it can.

The problem is, the more people who are educated in a knowledge, the less valuable that knowledge is. What makes your labor valuable is your relevant knowledge skills and abilities. Wages and Labor are based on supply and demand; the demand for labor is based on the marginal revenue product of labor (the nominal income gained for each additional unit of labor), and the supply of labor is based on the number of people willing and able to do the work. When you have a rare knowledge the supply is lower than common knowledge, so the wages are higher. If you can be easily replaced by someone willing to work for less money, than you need to accept a lower wage to stay employed or else increase your productivity. If your knowledge skills and abilities are rare, you have more job security, and can demand higher wages.
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sadolite
Posts: 8,836
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12/23/2013 10:53:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
No
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suttichart.denpruektham
Posts: 1,115
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12/24/2013 1:37:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2013 12:02:53 AM, lleyton wrote:
I am often told by my parents and teachers that education is the way to escape poverty, so I should work hard on studying and getting a degree from post-secondary education.

I am a Hong Kong university student entering my third year in study and I am wondering if this is true or not. It's hard to determine whether all graduates will end up getting a job that has higher pay than if they only had a secondary education background. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc will most probably get a higher pay job right after they graduated compared to if they had not graduated with such degrees. But what about others?

In Hong Kong there seems to be a high labour demand in blue collar jobs such as dish washers, construction site workers, waiters/waitresses, etc. A restaurant posted an ad willing to pay much higher wage (HKD $20,000) than entry level general accounting clerks and administrative positions (generally around HKD$10,000-13,000) that usually require at least a college diploma background, and yet no one answered the offer. Hence now restaurants tend to outsource dishwashing to third party dishwashing companies.

You may argue that a degree might not get you a job that pays higher than if you had not gotten a degree in the beginning but in the long run you will be better off. But then if everyone believes that this is true, then they will try as hard as they can to get a degree especially the poors who strive to escape poverty. Even if it means to speak to the government to establish more universities and colleges for the community. And if these demands are granted, then the extreme case would be 100% of secondary school graduates can study for a degree and the society will be flooded with post-secondary graduates. But then the problem is whether there's enough jobs in the job market for these new graduates entering the market. Well unless there are degrees in areas such as dishwashing and garbage collecting there's always going to be excess demand for these jobs unless some graduates are willing to work in an area that's not their specialty, which they probably have to or else they are jobless.

Hence, I think on a personal level, yes education can help one from escaping poverty or at least have a better quality of life in the long run. But if you look at it in a macro level, applying this kind of decision making to every single individual in the society then there's always gonna be unequal supply and demand in the job market.

Can education solve poverty? What are your thoughts? I know there are many areas that I haven't explored yet in such short time. For example I haven't defined what education is. For far, the education I mentioned is more on skill and practical training more than education on philosophical perspectives, worldviews, etc, on individuals that might impact the society as well.

Please feel free to discuss freely.

If your question is that did my degree in non-rocket-science subject would be career secure, the answer is no.

White collar degree in humanity art and science of various type are very misleading. Most of them have very saturated labor market thus your career jobs will be very competitive, poorly paid, or labor intensive. You will be far better off with professional education with real working skill. A dishwasher might pay well but a chef get paid even better!

White collar degree in art such as Marketing or language skill is almost meaningless, you will always required extra-curriculum experience to be competitive in job market (certified language skill from external source). Finance fare a bit better, but still depend very mush on your personal wit and ability. The only degree that is job secure from kind of discipline is Accounting but that is because it's extremely labor intensive and many people have to quit it at some point in their life.

So what about the philosophic aspect of your question? Yes, education will get you out of poverty but only if that education has a real productive application. Studying engineering, chemical, computer science, or programming will always be valuable and even if no one had notice its value still have ability to create something physical which could be of use to yourself (and would attract attention later on).

Study humanity or art without production knowledge is not a true education. It's a hobby, it doesn't have a physical purpose, and it will do nothing to the state of poverty.
Juris
Posts: 109
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12/28/2013 9:31:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Yes. Education to some extent can alleviate or solve poverty. Many people are not accepted in their desired jobs because they don't have the necessary skills for that job. Had they graduated or have skills in that kind of job, they would have been accepted which in turn help them earn money. If a person is educated, he will have a bigger chance to be accepted in specific job.
Though I am not saying that having education is only way to earn money, it is still best to have one so that you can apply for the job that you want.
Thanatos1983
Posts: 23
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1/1/2014 6:40:13 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
In my experience, education lessens the instinct to kill, or to even speak of death. On the upside, education does improve people"s chances to attain a higher standard of living. The more qualified are always chosen over the less.

I would be more concerned about how education affects the base nature of human beings.
kawaii_crazy
Posts: 580
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1/2/2014 11:57:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
yes
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