Poverty Education Problems at Present an African Research Paper

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Poverty Education Problems

At present, an African child born in poverty is more anticipated to be undernourished than attending primary school education and is as likely to pass away ahead of age 5 as to attend secondary education. As mentioned by Tilak, J. (2009) these harsh realities are representatative of the interlinked state of poverty and education with regard to a child's chances of survival in Africa. Statistical assessment of sub-Saharan Africa presents two most critical aspects of this regiont: its elevated level of poverty and the current decrease in primary education in the region. No other part of the world is going through this level of poverty and academic problems.

Thirty-seven states of sub-Saharan Africa are included in the list of countries that grade lowest in field of human development. According to an estimate, 40 to 50% population residing in sub-Saharan Africa is below the poverty line. (Psacharopoulos, 2011) This percentage is much greater than in any other part of the world excepting South Asia. These poor people exist in both rural and urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa. The rural population mostly includes subsistence farmers who farm small parts of land and earn money from farming. Majority of the poor population living in urban regions is unemployed or work informally as minor traders, household servants or informal laborers.

Thesis Statement

Poverty is the major reason behind declining Rate of Education in Sub-Saharan African countries.


Majority of poor families are unable to pay for the education. Even where education is complimentary, the poor people are unable to buy the uniforms and other necessary stuff children must have to attend 'free' schooling. Lastly, even if they are able to afford schooling for their children, these poor families cannot afford to waste hours their children remain in school or the time they spend in going to and coming back from school, they prefer their children to spend this time in more useful or in other words money-making activities. All these extremely poor families can afford is low quality education. Financially stronger families possess more educational choices for their children; if they find that the public education is below their desired standard, they have the option of sending their kids to private schools that possess better educational resources. In the majority African countries, where the admission to secondary schools depend upon the grades obtained by the child in national exams at the end of primary class, the scarcity of choices for quality education for the under-privileged may contribute to the low educational achievement rates in children of poor families.

Decreased rates of educational enrolment and achievement existing in the poorest Africans are more alarming in the light of significant support that even primary education attainment can contribute considerably in betterment of the life chances of the underprivileged. Learning is strongly connected to improved well-being and reduced fertility, and the positive connection between schooling and earnings is undeniable and universal. It has been widely agreed that both for people and societies all over the world, primary education is the most fruitful in terms of highest returns among the three levels of learning. Furthermore, the rate of return to primary education is the maximum in underprivileged countries with a shortage of educated citizens. Hence, it is not unexpected that spending in primary education is more advantageous in sub-Saharan Africa in comparison to other parts of the world. Efforts to increase primary school completion rate would prove to be highly beneficial for the continent to break a cycle in which the underprivileged possess no opportunity for betterment of their quality of life and as a result spend their lives in poverty.

Rate of Poverty in selected Sub-Saharan African Countries

(As presented by Tilak, J, 2009)

In contrast with other parts of the world, sub-Saharan Africa holds the lowest place with regards to several educational factors, counting the adult rate of literacy rate to be 57%, gross primary education i.e. 74% and secondary education which is 24% (Psacharopoulos, 2011). In most of the African schools girls are under-represented than boys, with few exceptions. In the constinent, 81% of boys attend primary school education while thhis percentage is merely 67% for females. (Flower, Hayes, Carey, Schriver and Stratman, 2012) These figures are indicators of the major difference existing among states of the world with regards to education facilities and represent the huge educational challenges faced by sub-Saharan Africa.

This is real unfortunate that, after experiencing a rise in rate of school enrolment

From the 1960s to 980, in number of African countries enrolment for primary classes experienced a decline between year 1980 and 1990. (Flower, Hayes, Carey, Schriver and Stratman, 2012) In the first half of 1990s, rate of enrolment grew another time but before end of 1995 these ratios were still below than they had been in 1980. None of other state experienced such a decline. Several factors have found to be responsible for such educational setback. First, fast population growth has resulted in an increased educational expenses, making it more difficult for African countries to make sufficient educational resources available for everyday increasing number of school-age children. Then, low rates of fiscal growth as a result of worldwide recession in the past decades and financial problems inside Africa have brought great economic setback for African governments and population both. Consequently, African families have become unable to afford education and African governments have been failed in providing sufficient facilities to its citizens to gain education.

A variety of reasons, from the international to national level and from neighborhood to domestic level, contribute to sub-Saharan Africa's soaring rates of education and poverty. (Crabtree and Pugliese, 2012) It should be considered that for majority of African countries, monetary-based financial institutions and a proper system of education are fairly new developments that, for most of the African countries, only introduced after getting freedom from colonialism in the 1960s and 1970s. (Psacharopoulos, 2011) These factors must be taken into account when evaluating sub-Saharan Africa for its development in both these fronts. Several other factors are also responsible, for instance, like other developing countries of the world, the worldwide financial recession and liability crisis of the 1980s struck hard to Africa.

The debt payments assert almost 4% of the constituency's gross domestic product and create a burden that obviously is a great problem. (Tilak, 2009) To maintain debt repayment and stay entitled for further loans in future, African states need to follow structural adjustment policies (SAPs), which are agreed between every indebted state and global economic institution, like the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank. (Flower, Hayes, Carey, Schriver and Stratman, 2012) Such programs are by and large designed according to neo-liberal economic theory; pressurize to decrease public spending and decentralizing and privatizing state departments that results in collection of more funds to debt servicing. These results in, structural amendments including less spending on local education together with a decline in spending on supplies for local schools.

It was difficult to relate SAPs with the decline in rate of school enrolment. However, it was observed that in the past too debt servicing led to a decline in public spending on education in 1980s. (Buchmann, 2010) Hence, an overall impact of economic restructuring is that the poorest groups become unable to afford extra costs. As the result of worsening of living conditions of the poor, they are left with no or fewer resources to spend on education of their children and, at the same time, they sometimes have to depend on their children's financial and domestic contributions in order to survive. This leads to a decline in school enrolment rates all over the African continent. Global organizations, like UNICEF, together with leaders of Third World countries, have raised voice for 'adjustment with a human face' and other agendas in order to safeguard those most expected to get effected due to structural adjustment policies.

In spite of designing much-needed debt relief programs, Africa's financial liabilities will continue to minimize their ability to tackle its severe educational problems. Furthermore, decreased enrolment rate and other problems in social improvement that have already occurred will not be easily reversed in the upcoming years. Lastly, as governments puts the costs of attaining education on to parents and private authorities, educational difference between affluent and underprivileged families and communities may raise. Children belonging to rich families and communities will enjoy higher-quality educational facilities and supplies as compare to their underprivileged fellows, at the same time, some of the poorest Africans will not be able to send their children to attain the most basic levels of schooling. (Flower, Hayes, Carey, Schriver and Stratman, 2012)

Along with the debt problems, in past decades sub-Saharan Africa also experienced a reduction in foreign aid, in terms of its contribution in overseas development support etc. This and several other reasons caused a reduction in its foreign aid. Consequently, most of the African countries ended up having lesser resources, to provide sufficient finances to its schools, sending their teachers for training or…

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