Education has had powerful effects on the development in many aspects during the past centuries. This trend, has begun to manifest that education is playing a significant role in economics, societies and environment around the world. Education can promote economic growth and global movement. It can influence the population in fertility and mortality, stimulate the development of the poor segments and promote peace and stability of the society. As for environment, the development of education can solve environmental problems by raising individual awareness, but could also lead to a threat to the environment.
A large amount of researches have shown that the increase of the number of girls benefited from education has led to a country’s per capita economic growth (Smith, 1999). Also, according to Brown (2008), a loss of education will lead to a wider gap between the rich and the poor that may increase instability sources in societies. This essay will analyze how education has influenced countries’ development in economics, societies and environment more specifically. In addition, some suggestions will also be conducted to encourage more progress in the development of countries.
As seen in a large amount of researches, education has a prominent positive effect on promoting economic growth. For instance, according to Goujon (2008), tertiary education for younger people can lead to more powerful effects than that on old people. However, an inverse case happens in secondary education. That means government should focus on completing the universal primary education and decide which kind of education can strictly prove country’s economic growth.
Although the effects of the productivity are not always positive, education, especially for women, is going to be a vital part in achieving a sustainable development (Goujon, 2008). UNESCO (2006) states that education can have positive effects on agricultural productivity, the status of women and controlling the population. In developing countries, the economic development always depends on the agriculture. Similarity, the productivity of agriculture always depends on the farmers’ education level. In conclusion, education could lead to great improvement in workforce which promotes a country’s economic.
Not only in China but in other countries, the development of education plays a significant role in countries’ economic movement. That means a great change of relationship between economy and education is promoted around the world due to the trends of global economic development. According to Goh and Gopinathan (2008), in Singapore, the transformation of education system is a strong fundamental to improve its competitiveness in South Asia. Children can choose different kinds of schools to obtain education in Singapore, such as English-speaking schools and Chinese-speaking schools. Students have the opportunity to study in different cultures and learn different skills.
As a result, Singapore has a great increase in economy because of a large number of skilled and high-educated workforces. Similarly, in China, the government has used major tertiary transformation in education (Li, Whalley, Zhan, Zhao, 2008). This change leads to a huge impact on economy and also the education structure all over the world. The Chinese government is aiming at upgrading the quality of skilled labour and pulling up the productive ability. In fact, after China’s higher education transformation, other countries begin to look for an appropriate structure for their local education. This exactly illustrates that a closer relationship between economy and education is promoted by the governments worldwide.
However, not all the countries are willing to invest in reforming the local education. Different attitudes towards education have resulted in countries’ economics development becoming depolarized. Some countries do not take notice of their education systems, most of which are developing countries. Their governments have not recognized the significance of education and the effects that education could have on their economic development. For example, Mauritius is a small island which is much smaller than Tanzania. However, the GDP in Mauritius was $ 12,800 while in Tanzania was $ 700 in 2006 (Bloom, Canning, Chan, 2006).
The main reason why this great gap exists is that the attitudes to higher education are very different. While Mauritius was focusing on the quality and quantity of higher education, Tanzania was still facing the low student-to-staff ratios because of its needless high costs in higher education. In fact, this was a vicious circle in Tanzania. Bloom (2006) shows that although the government has invested a lot of money to build universities, such as UDSM, the social economic problems were aggravated. Due to the economic problems, government had to reduce the investment to universities. In that case, fixing the relationship between education and economy is so difficult for Tanzania government. In contrast, Mauritius government has already built an optimum circle and the country’s economy is rapidly growing.
Education has also had significant impacts on the development of many countries in population in several ways. On the one hand, it could reduce fertility, that is to say, as levels of female education rise, fertility will fall. Brown (2008) states that for reaching substantial reductions in fertility, the single best lever may be the expansion of women’s secondary education. Education and careers have become important factors for women marrying later and having fewer children because education provides females with more employment prospects and opportunities. A good illustration of this is that many girls have been drawn and benefited by the school lunch program in the US since 1946. On the other hand, it can promote children’s health and reduce mortality due to mothers’ better education.
It has been reported by UNICEF (2008) that there is an essential connection between under-5 mortality rates and mothers’ education attainment. For example, the stimulation of education has brought about considerable variation in Islamic World that Organization of the Islamic Conference countries account for 11 of the 16 highest rates of under-five mortality in the world. Also, attending schools helps children fight back with various diseases, for instance, AIDS. Schools inform and educate students before they are infected with the disease about the lifestyles that accelerate its propagation. All of this explains that education actually affects the development of a country by reducing the mortality of its population. Table 1: Average annual reduction rates in OIC countries on
The popularity of basic education is playing a vital part in fostering popularity of the approach to the hardest to-reach segments of society. Universal primary education is available to more children in poor families nowadays via several ways. Firstly, through the efforts of implementing educational plans, some progress has been made, especially to the poorest segments of society. For example, Education for All plan, has aimed to promote education by providing financial support to countries which have meaningful plans for universal primary education. This plan was developed by the World Bank which is an important source of financial and other kinds of assistance to developing countries around the world. Owing to this plan, the figure of children’s accomplishment of primary school has risen from 78% in 2000 to 83% by 2005.
Furthermore, according to Brown (2008), some third world countries have established Girls Advisory Committees, such as Ethiopia, which largely encourages the registration rates rising in the rural areas. These groups sent representatives to persuade parents in impoverishment to keep their children in school and some countries like Bangladesh and Brazil, provide scholarships or stipends to the parents and help the poor obtain a basic education. Therefore, universal education is stimulating the development of the poor segments by both applying educational plans and founding relevant committees.
Also, education can promote peace and stability in a country. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen who encourages education popularity focuses, “Illiteracy and innumeracy are a greater threat to humanity than terrorism.” That means a loss of education widens the gap between the rich and the poor and then leads to the integrated world staying in an unstable position eventually. Evidence has shown that education contributes to narrowing the gap that helps build a more stable and harmonious society.
An example of this is that with fast increasing number of enrolments since 1999 in China, the gap in access between urban and rural areas is gradually diminishing (Li, Whalley. Zhan and Zhao, 2008). The admission rates of universities in rural China have increased a lot and graduates in poor families have the opportunities to attain hopeful prospects. Plan (2008) has reported that education benefits people’s employment and makes more resources available to them. This avoids hunger, illness and other unequal factors increasing the danger of the destruction of world’s structure. Education no doubt reduces the social burden and promotes stability in the development of countries.
Education definitely can help solve environmental problems, and this can be demonstrated in the aspect of improving individual awareness of the environmental affairs. For instance, through being educated, people will know that their surroundings can be dangerous for living if there aren’t enough steps to be done for a better environment and then they will have a sense of responsibility for the health of their common hometown in their own. According to Dobson (2003), education for sustainable development make great effects on the quality, structure and health of environment by teaching and encouraging pupils to take active parts in democratic and other decision-making processes that can be seen as the commitment of the citizens. So by raising individual sense of responsibility, it proves the effects of education on the environment. In addition, education passes on scientific ways to deal with the environmental problems, which can help produce most environmental efficiency of individuals.
The macro environmental achievement needs every citizen’s efforts, so emphasizing environmental education, especially the education for sustainable development, can be a key factor for a better prospect of the environment. However, education sometimes can make a threat to environment. Sustainable development, which is defined as “the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987), logically, can be promoted by education. From what has been said above, education can cause a lower fertility and a slower population growth and the resistance to the overpopulation can facilitate the progress of sustainability.
Therefore, most people believe that education can certainly become an essential tool for sustainable development. Actually, the truth is dramatically the opposite that greater threat to sustainability will be done with the higher education people obtain. It could be caused by the reason: “Unfortunately, the most educated nations leave the deepest ecological footprints, meaning they have the highest per-capita rates of consumption. This consumption drives resource extraction and manufacturing around the world.” ( McKeown, 2006: pp12)
When people receive more education, they may just have the capability to change the nature and not develop the earth appropriately. The United States, known as its high level of education, is also known as the biggest threat to the environment, which is a typical case that demonstrates the relationship between education and sustainability. This can be a very controversial point and create challenges to make sure that there is no growing demand for goods and resources while raising the level of the education.
In conclusion, to analyze how education could affect the development of countries, this essay obtains the key ideas in mainly three aspects. Education can promote the economic growth and movement globally. Then it can help control the population, stimulate the development of the poor segments and promote peace and stability of the society. As for environment, developing education can help solve environmental problems by raising individual awareness, but may also cause a threat to the environment somehow.
Furthermore, the essay advocates raising the level of education among the poor segment of the society, because a loss of which may be origin of threats to the stability of societies. It’s also expected for the developing countries to find a suitable structure of the education system instead of the radical one that just for the needs ahead. Another prediction is that countries could increase the public needs for more sustainable production and consumption patterns through a higher-level education.
Although we can see that some progress has been made, there’s still a long way to go. Governments should pay more attention both on basic education and tertiary education in order to provide us a necessary study environment. The government ought to develop more powerful policies to ensure more enrolment so that the quality of a country’s development can be improved. Overall, education has had great effects on the development of countries and will continue influence the economics, societies and environment in a long term. Therefore maturer educational steps ought to be taken in order to conduct much more progress. (Words: 2095)
Bloom, D. Canning, D. Chan, K. (2006) Higher Education and Economic Development in Africa. Washington D.C. Harvard University.
Brown, L. (2008) Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Earth Policy Institute.
Dobson,A.P.(2003) ‘Citizenship, Education and the Environment’. In Citizenship and the Environment. Oxford University Press:2003+p.174-207
Goh, C.H., Gopinathan, S. (2008) ‘The Development of Education in Singapore since 1965’. In Lee, Sing Kong Goh, Choor Boon Fredrikson, and Birger (ed) Toward a Better Future: Education and Training for Economic Development in Singapore since 1965. The World Bank: 2008. p. 12-38
Li, Y. Whalley, J. Zhan, S, and Zhao, X. (2008) China’s Higher Education Transformation and Its Global Implications NBER Working Paper No. W13849 [online]. Available form: http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/1066 [06/12/10]
Lutz W, Goujon, A & KC S (2008). Education: The Key to Development. Options (Summer 2008): 12 – 15. [online] Available form: www.iiasa.ac.at/Admin/INF/OPT/Summer08/opt-08sum.pdf.[06/12/10]
Plan (2008) Paying the Price [online], Available from: http:// www.plan.org.au/mediacentre/publications/ research/ paying_the_price [07/12/2010]
UNESCO (2006) Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit. Paris: UNESCO Publishing, pp. 12 – 14
UNICEF (2005) Investing in the Children in the Islamic World, http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Investing_Children_Islamic_World_full_E.Pdf [07/12/2010]
Yu-Shu Peng,Shing-Shiun Lin(2009)’National Culture, Economic Development, Population Growth and Environmental performance: The Mediating Role of education’.Journal of Business Ethics.Dordrecht: Dec 2009.Vol. 90,iss.2:p.203-216