Editors’ note: All seventh-grade students were required to write an informational writing piece in English class during the spring semester. All pieces were then shared with the students in the grade anonymously, and the students chose eight pieces to submit to The Scroll for judging, also without the students’ names attached. The editors of The Scroll read all eight articles and chose what they considered to be the best three pieces based on strength of writing and organization of information.
Poverty in Education
By Kaila Brooks
Your ears yearn for a break as a loud voice fills the room and the teacher howls at yet another student for getting answers wrong on their homework. The 50 kids crammed into the small room that they call a “classroom” all smush together in hopes of catching a glimpse of the 10 books that your class shares. The aftertaste of the terribly small lunch that you had lingers in your mouth as your stomach roars, longing for more.
The right to a good education is a core part of our growing generation, but it is not available to everyone in the same ways. According to the National Education Union, there is a distinct link between poverty and the lower quality of education that 30 percent of children around world experience. The cycle of poverty continues from generation to generation, and with a lack of quality education to help future communities, it will continue to grow.
“The rich become richer and the poor become poorer” is a well-known proverb that can help explain the cycle of poverty. In our society, there is a system that goes without being said. Those who are rich will pass their riches onto their children allowing them to continue to develop, and those who are poor will have a hard time helping their future generations excel. When children grow up in a poor household, they cannot afford to pay for quality schooling leaving them with little understanding of health, society, and basic skills.
In fact, according to Global Partnership for Education, “An estimated 274 million primary school children worldwide are not learning the basic foundational skills necessary to lead productive and healthy lives.” This lack of information and knowledge gives the children a disadvantage when they have to find a job that has a high enough salary to pay for a decent life. With little education on the operations of civilization and society, the children will not have the abilities to help their community develop and break this cycle.
Many children are forced to work and marry at a young age in order to gain money to help their family. Shortly after marriage, girls are forced to start a family leading to unhealthy pregnancies and childbirths because of their lack of knowledge as to how to care for themselves and the child. They become parents while still in the fragile state they were in when they were young and will not be able to give their kids opportunities to thrive and learn.
As a result of poverty and the little access to education in the parent’s lives, more and more children are forced to go through similar experiences, which ties back to how the poor become poorer over generations.
It’s Monday morning and your alarm is as loud as a fire truck screaming in your ears. You drag yourself out of bed while wondering why you have to go to school. As your body slowly wakes up limb by limb, you are reminded of the loud hallways and the boring classes that you will have to encounter, and suddenly having a cold that day sounds like a great idea. But truly, no matter how much you say you do not want to go to school, it is essential to your learning and development. From helping raise environmental awareness to preventing early marriages, education helps our society and the people in it in so many ways.
How Education Can Benefit Our Society:
- Educating women can help prevent deaths at a young age because women learn how to take care of their children and families. According to Global Partnership for Education, a child who has a mother who can read is 50 percent more likely to live past the age of five, and four million child deaths would be prevented because of women education.
- When children are taught from a young age about inequality, they can learn how to act against it and understand what is acceptable in society.
- Children have the ability to help educate those around them, and this benefits the community because learning new things assists in their development as a whole. For example, educated children may help teach people to understand sustainable growth and protect their environment.
- Children are more likely to be vaccinated and have their health taken care of if they have healthy and educated parents.
- Schools may educate students about diseases, how they spread, and how to try and prevent them. Students can make a big impact on their communities if they are aware of health risks.
How Education Can Benefit Those in Poverty:
- Global Partnership for Education says, if everyone is educated, the number of people in poverty worldwide would reduce by half, impacting 420 million people.
- Only one extra year of school can increase one’s income by around 10%.
- Early marriage and pregnant girls result in underweight and starving children, but when girls stay in school for longer, they are less likely to marry and get pregnant too early. As well, after school, they have the chance to find work before starting a family. ChildFund International says, “Approximately 39,000 under-aged girls marry each year, some as young as 8 or 9.”
- Going to school can help with developing confidence and relationships with adults.
- Children will grow up to be role models for their children and they will teach and show their children what the future could look like.
On the whole, education benefits those in poverty on so many levels including reduction of early marriages, helping the community develop, and providing knowledge of diseases. However, the poverty cycle and the conditions that poor people live in does not allow for opportunities for children to live life to its fullest.