In the United States, education is required. It is illegal for a child not to attend school. However, many countries in Latin America don’t have that policy. Ecuador is one of the countries that don’t require children to obtain an education. All the public schools in Ecuador are not free, although many are inexpensive. The financial burden of education makes it less accessible. Consequently, lack of education is one of the main causes of poverty in Ecuador.

More than 60 percent of the population lives near the poverty line. Because of this, child labor is one of the main sources of income for many of families. In the capital of Quito, children line the streets, selling fruit, water and trinkets.

Many resort to child labor in order to obtain an education. However, this tends to create a cycle of poverty. Young people are not attending school because they are working. By the time they make the amount required for school, they have fallen significantly behind.

In order to combat the poverty rate, the Ecuadorian government focuses on infrastructure to boost the economy. This sector has created thousands of jobs. This provides thousands with a minimum surviving wage.

However, these government jobs are also one of the causes of poverty in Ecuador. As the government hands out manual labor placements, the citizens keep voting for a corrupted government that almost never addresses education.

Other causes of poverty in Ecuador include the lack of employment, little access to land and low market integration. Ecuadorians who live in rural highlands do not have access to education or healthcare, often causing malnutrition.

For emerging economies like Ecuador, it is important to note that education should be one of the top priorities of the country. Without education, many areas of advancement are restricted.

Francis Hurtado

Photo: Flickr