Education _Poverty
In January 2016, the U.N. launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a part of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The goals are part of a 15-year plan to end poverty, reduce inequalities and fight global climate change. They address issues from development to social needs. Global education plays a key role in reaching each one of the 17 goals. Here are six ways that education ends the cycle of poverty:

1. Education Promotes Gender Equality

Gender employment and wage gaps narrow as the number of educated girls reaches the number of educated boys in a community. Many countries lose more than $1 billion each year because they do not educate as many girls as they do boys. An additional year of schooling increases a girl’s potential earnings by almost 20 percent.

2. Education Increases Everyone’s Earnings, Not Just Women’s

Simply put, more education results in more pay. For every year that a child continues their education, their potential earnings increase by 10 percent. According to the Global Partnership for Education, “For each $1 invested in an additional year of schooling, earnings increase by $5 in low-income countries and $2.5 in lower-middle-income countries.”

3. Education Narrows Wage Gaps

Much like gender disparities, when a disadvantaged group — in this case, low-income communities — has the same education as their advantaged counterparts, the economic gap narrows. If workers from low-income backgrounds were educated at the same level as their advantaged contemporaries, the economic disparity between the two groups would decrease by 39 percent.

4. Education Promotes Economic and Developmental Growth

When people are more educated and receiving more pay, there is more money flowing into communities from the people who are now equipped with the skills necessary to solve development issues. Currently, 50 percent of the difference in economic growth between sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia from 1965 to 2010 can be attributed to an increase in children completing their education. The GDP per capita in developing countries could be up to 70 percent higher by 2050 if all children in those countries were learning and completing school.

5. Education Tackles Climate Change

Environmental education equips students with the skills needed to make environmental changes and pursue sustainable practices in their communities. Now, there is a push for green industries to address the growing climate change issue, but these industries will need educated, skilled workers to run effectively. Future farmers who pursue secondary education will have the knowledge that is crucial to implementing sustainable agriculture.

At its current rate, climate change and its effect on the increased number of natural disasters could impoverish as many as 122 million people by 2030. Educated citizens, especially those in developing countries, are more likely to implement accessible renewable energy that will lead their communities to prosperity. In the past, programs for environmental education have been responsible for efforts to tackle climate change and protect the planet.

6. Education Ends the Cycle of Poverty

By financing inclusive education and encouraging each student’s performance, innovation and creativity, global education can put a stop to the cycle of poverty. If all students in developing countries learned to read, 171 million people around the world could be lifted out of poverty — that’s a 12 percent decrease in global poverty. If inclusive education practices continue, the world could see poverty reduced by 30 percent very soon.

Global education is the key to achieving the 17 SDGs by 2030, and everyone can play a part. Read more about the U.N.’s Global Goals here.

Rachel Cooper

Photo: Flickr