The Importance of Education
By Victoria Panwala
As fall nears, stores like “Target” and “Wal-Mart” burst into bloom with all kinds of colorful educational instruments from backpacks to highlighters. This is just the start of a whole boatload of evidence about how much we take education for granted. In the United States and other developed countries, education has become routine. But children in developing nations are not quite as lucky. In India, for example, the female youth literacy rate is a mere 74% compared to a male youth literacy rate of 88%. Clearly, different groups of children receive different treatment.
Education has many far reaching and surprising benefits. It can: make people healthier, increase income, promote women’s rights, fosters peace, reduce poverty, reduce child mortality, boost economic growth, and even raise crop yields. According to globalpartnership.org, education for women can have a profound effect on birthrates and child and infant mortality. Each additional year of schooling after primary education reduces the likelihood of a woman becoming a mother by at least 7.3%. An even more shocking statistic is that a child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.
One extra year of schooling can increase an individual’s income by up to 10%. Yet all over the world children are pulled out of school for a variety of reasons, including work, the high cost of education, or early marriage. It is truly as Benjamin Franklin said: “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest”.