Life in Slow Motion: Poverty and Education
- 5 Posts
We all start out pretty much the same, screaming and crying in awe as we exit the womb. Unfortunately, from this moment forward our paths begin to diverge. What's more, while some get to enjoy an "express" flight that pushes them to dream, to achieve and to make progress, others are left to dawdle, with the chances for success stacked against them.
Before we get to ask "why", "where?" or "how can we fix it?" let's fist wrap our heads around some useful terms - don't be spooked by the fancy words.
The first is IGM – intergenerational mobility, also known as economic mobility across generations. In simple words, the term describes the economic progress of an individual in comparison to his or her parents.
The second is educational mobility – the amount of education one acquires in relation to his or her parents. Evidently, the two are closely correlated: the more education one achieves the more likely he or she is to be better financially established.
Unfortunately, poor individuals find it hard to move past their life's starting point: the educational and therefor financial achievements of their parents. For them, progress is painstakingly slow as they are forced to work in demanding low paying jobs, instead of working in high paying jobs that require the education which they (the poor) did not get to achieve.
For this reason, I chose to describe their life's progress
as: ‘Life in slow motion’. Their progress seems to be moving at a different
pace, dawdling behind the "express" lane in which only individuals
with education can travel. Moreover, educational mobility due to investment in
education is crucial for a countries' success, the well-being of its citizens
and for GDP per capita.
Now, it's time to "get our hands dirty" and see what we can do to fix it. Well, we should invest more resources in education. Clearly, we should improve our current schools and create new ones, update and improve the current curriculums, and to lower the student – teacher ratio, which creates higher educational mobility. Further, investments in preschools, in early childhood, and in nutritional support programs is crucial, as losses in those areas are often irreversible, and are detrimental to one's progress throughout life.
Putting aside the work that needs to be done by governments, we as citizens also play a vital role in creating our own destiny. If you are a child, never give up! Study hard, push yourself and believe that you can achieve the educational goals you want. Whether it's getting to university, to college, staying in school or getting an A in the next exam, it's worth it in the end. You might be called a "nerd" or get laughed at for working too hard (as I often do) but it is worth it! As Bill Gates once said, "Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one". To all of the parent' out there, believe in your child and encourage him to push forward, no matter how far and unrealistic success might look like. Further, remember that scholarships, grants and financial aid programs are available, and that the only way to get them is to ask.
In conclusion, education plays a crucial role in
intergenerational mobility – the progress of an individual in compression to
his parents. Due to its importance, more resources should be put in education,
thus improving educational mobility. Moreover, while government investment is
crucial, citizens also play a crucial role in creating their own destiny, and
should push themselves or their children toward educational success.