The Direct Connection Between Education and the Economy

The Direct Connection Between Education and the Economy

  • Arya Vishwaroop
    Arya Vishwaroop

Introduction

There are more children attending school today than ever before. To put that statement into perspective, let us look at an example. In 1950 the average level of schooling in the entire continent of Africa was less than two years. It is greater than five years today. In the areas of East Asia and the Pacific, the schooling of the population went from 2 to 7 years in the span of 6 decades. This is an increase north of 200%. All over the world, average years of schooling are being projected to increase to 10 years by the year 2050. ย This is greater than a five-fold increase within a century and a half. All of this goes to show that there is a direct correlation, if not causation, between education and economic development, be it a state, country, or even a county or district. The economic development resulting from education feeds into education itself, which further improves the quality of life in a place.

How the Economy is Affected by Education

So, what is the relationship between education and the economy? It comes as no surprise that one of the key factors behind economic development is education. However, let us break down the factors that have caused this and examine how education affects economic development and prosperity in the first place.

The Effect of Industrialisation

One of the biggest examples of education influencing the economy is the industrialisation of the West. When the industrial revolution happened, the first thing that the revamped was the education system. What they did was to make the concept of education compulsory for all students and subsidized immensely to incentivize them to come to school. After that, they offered the students a practical systematic approach to schooling which was at the time rote learning. As can be seen today, three out of the five superpowers in the UN come from the West. When the West institutionalized industrialisation through education, what they effectively did was create a new wave of learners that were not only able to sustain themselves economically but also provide a template that other countries can use to improve their education system, a system that India uses to this day.

An Investment That Pays For Itself

Education is one of those rare investments that slowly, but surely, pay itself back in the long run. What this means is that when a country or state invests in education, they are essentially investing in the future of the next generation. The subsidizing of the education sector through government schemes and with the incentivization of private players brings more students into the fold, hence improving the overall education rate and literacy of the entire country which will have a direct impact on the way people perceive the problems that they face on an everyday basis and in the long run.

Tackling Unemployment Head On

This has to be the most important of them all. Unemployment is one of the biggest problems in third world countries like India that have a pre-industrial agrarian society. Education makes sure that a person does not get left behind simply on the basis of not having the skills required to get a particular job. That being said, the talent and subsequent practice required to land a job depend on the person who is looking for the job but the initial factor is definitely an education and the opportunity that it provides to the learner.

Improved Critical Thinking Skills

This is a runway side effect of having a proper education system within a country. Critical thinking is something that a lot of people today lack and are in dire need of. Critical thinking refers to the skills required by a person to keep their mind sharp in a particular situation, and it is honed by the amount of education that a person receives over the period of their academic and non-academic life, and the experience that they have during their lifetime. The critical thinking skills of a person can only be improved if they are exposed to the right environment, which is often seen only in societies that promote education with a rigorous passion.

Conclusion

There are several more ways in which the economy is affected by the education system and its subsequent side effects but it is not as direct as the ones mentioned above. Education is a fundamental human right and needs to be provided to all the people who seek it. There are several organizations within the country of India as well as all over the world that work tirelessly towards helping underprivileged children with their education and in some cases even their higher studies. The prospect of changing the education system regularly also comes into play when talking about how education affects the economy.

For example, there is a rising consensus regarding making STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) because of the shift in society and increasing demand for artists in the job market. This is mainly because he lot of jobs depend on the creativity of the individual rather than just their educational qualification, which means that the way we look at education needs to be changed substantially. The requirement for holistic education is becoming even more apparent and obvious day by day.

Suggested Read - Why STEM is Becoming STEAM and Why It is The Need of the Hour

The educational landscape is ever-changing and requires reform every decade. It is the responsibility of not just the government but also every individual stakeholder in the sector of education to raise their voice when such a demand arises.