By Muhyideen Abdulquadri
The brief for this article started by looking at ways to eradicate poverty in Nigerian society. Before we get into discussion about how to go about it and the best way to do so, let us first define what poverty is. Poverty is defined relative to the standards of living in a country. People who are not able to participate in the accepted part of daily life are considered to be in poverty.
A much easily quantifiable definition offered by the world bank defines extreme poverty as living on $1.25 or less a day. A definition that probably applies to a large number of Nigerians. So, how can we raise the standard of living of these Nigerians. The author of this article believes that education is the major answer to this question.
Reducing Poverty in Nigeria with Education
The words often used when talking about poverty in Nigeria is eradication. But the right words to use is reduction, since there is no where in the world, where poverty has ever been eradicated, including the developed countries. Since Nigeria does not have a track record of being first in the world, for anything, it is highly unlikely that it will be the first country in the world to use education to eradicate poverty.
So we cannot use education to eradicate poverty in Nigeria, how about the second best thing? Can we use education to reduce poverty? The answer to that is a resounding yes, we are already doing it as a matter of fact. We just need to do it even more and on a larger scale.
In addition to helping us to be more cultured and speak a forgign language, here is how education can directly help to reduce poverty in Nigeria.
- Better education is known to translate into better earning. Research in England found our that women educated to degree level, on average earn £250,000 more in their lifetime than women with no degree.
- Many Nigerian still work on the land. An educated farmer, will use his knowledge of the soil, weather, plant and animal to have a better harvest.
This will improve the living standard of the farmer, his family and community.
- Education can bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, by up to 45%.
- Education is one of the key indicators used to measure a country’s health and wellbeing.
- Education helps people to be aware of their rights. A good example is the #ClaimYourWaterRights campaign currently going on in Nigeria. Uneducated people without access to water, are being encouraged to demand their rights to clean water.
- There is about a 30 years life expectancy gap between the educated and uneducated people. Education can help improve the lives of uneducated people, thereby increasing their life expectancy.
Quotes about education and its power to change lives
- An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin
- Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. – Malcolm X