THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN REDUCING POVERTY RATE

ABSTRACT
Education is widely recognized as a key factor in the poverty reduction and development discourse. This thesis examines the role of education in reducing poverty in Abia state of Nigeria. A mixed method of research was used for the study and data was collected from 85 randomly selected households from 5 towns (Umuahia, Kasseh, Big Ada, Kpodokope and Anyakope) in Abia state. The study adopted two theoretical frameworks; Human Capital Theory by Becker (1962) & Schultz (1961) and the Capability Approach by Amartya Sen (2000) to establish the links between education, poverty and development. The study found out that 91.8 percent of indigenes of Abia state value education and conceive it as essential to the process of development and poverty reduction. Again, the study found out that the government has put in place several policies geared towards poverty reduction. Such policies included free education for all Nigerians from basic to high school level aimed at increasing school enrolment rates and Business Advisory Centers (BAC) established in the states to reduce poverty, improve living conditions and increase the income of women and vulnerable groups through self and wage employment. The study further found out that although indigenes are impressed of the improvements in the school enrolment rate in the state, they emphasized that it should not just be about the quantity, but the quality of education should be prioritized to achieve the desired goal of reducing poverty and enhancing development.

CHAPTER ONE
• Introduction
To have “No Poverty” thus ending poverty in all its forms as the number one on the list of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) agenda by the year 2030 coupled with series of actions from international organizations such as World Bank, IMF, UNDP etc depicts the global commitment and genuine concern for poverty reduction in order to enhance development and good livelihood for humanity.

Modern development theories have increasingly placed greater importance on the need for human development and investment as an exit path or way out from poverty. The ideology that education and human capital are essential for economic growth and subsequently contributing to poverty reduction gained much importance in the mid-1990s when it was discovered that the economic progress of East Asian countries; Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan in 1970s and 1980s was largely due to their investment in education and human capital formation (World Bank ,1993). Education and poverty are inversely related. Thus, the higher the level of education of a country’s population, the lower or lesser the number of poor persons will be in that population. This is because, education imparts knowledge and skills which is supportive in higher wages (Cremina & Nakabugob, 2012). Investing in human capital through education is therefore crucial for poverty reduction and achieving development.

As espoused by Jeffery & Basu (1996), education has direct and indirect effects on poverty reduction. The direct effect of education on poverty reduction is through the increase in income or wages while the indirect effect of education on poverty is in respect to ‘human poverty’. That is, as education improves an individual’s income, the fulfillment of basic necessities then becomes easier, improves their living standards and eventually leads to a reduction in human poverty. Education is not just an instrument and indicator of development but an end on its own. Education fosters self-understanding, improves quality of lives and increases people’s productivity and creativity thus promoting entrepreneurship and technological advancements in society (Omoniyi, 2013) which impacts positively on the development of a country. Both poverty and education are interconnected hence, reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development is somewhat dependent on the country’s skilled and educated workers.

To this end, this thesis aims to look at the role of education in poverty reduction and development.

• Background

• History of Nigerian Education

Education in Nigeria dates back to precolonial times. During this time, informal and indigenous education was the form of education that prevailed where knowledge and skills were passed on to the younger ones within the community by the elderly ones in the form of apprenticeship or by word of mouth. This form of education was strongly based on socio-cultural setting which ensured that people had an active participation in life. Western or enlightened form of education was introduced in the 16th and 19th centuries by Christian Missionaries and European Merchants (Addai-Mununkum, 2014). This western form of education was totally different from the indigenous form of education, it was based on book. The educational setting was unique and took place in Forts schools which was run by European merchants specifically for their mulatto children. They introduced reading, writing, and arithmetic as an essential and integral part of their education and aimed at producing educated local people to work as storekeepers and clerks in commerce, industry, and government. The western form education by Christian Missionaries was also primarily aimed at teaching and spreading Christianity. After independence, the indigenous government introduced several educational programs with the intent or objective of establishing more schools throughout the country and to extend financial assistance to unassisted schools, as well as improve the quality of education in the country. Unfortunately, some of the programs introduced posed a lot of challenge in the educational system which necessitated an Educational Reform to deal with the anomalies. In the governments bid to rectify the anomalies in the educational system, government sought the need to change the bookish form of education in Nigeria and to shift the education pattern to a more practically oriented one. This reform action led to the establishment of a committee dubbed “Dzobo Committee” who were charged with the responsibility of restructuring the content of the educational system to make it more practical and more related to Nigerian culture and setting. The idea behind this reform was to enable the individual Nigerian to contribute their quota to the economic development of the country.

Thus, in 1974, the restructured content of education introduced new programmes that were approved and implemented by the then Government. The reform was to be effected in Kindergarten, Primary, Junior and Senior Secondary Schools but due to financial constraints facing the country the reform programme remained only at the embryonic stage. In 1981, the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) Government reviewed the 1974 education reform with the same vision of making it more practical and more related to Nigerian culture and way of life. In 1994 and 2002, the deHeer Ammisah Committee and the Anamuah-Mensah Committee respectively reviewed the Education Reform. They took into consideration the structure and content of the then educational system in order to identify the anomalies in the system and how best to correct them to ultimately promote quality education. The rationale for the new Education Reform is thus to provide holistic and quality education to the individual. This would enable products of education to be self-fulfilled and help contribute productively to the socioeconomic development of the country. In the light of this, it is imperative to take a critical look at the newly reformed education system in Nigeria and discuss how best quality education can be achieved.

• Problem Statement
Nigeria has experienced increased growth of about 7% on yearly basis since 2005. Having achieved the status of a middle-income country status in the year 2010, the country’s per capita growth has been comparatively high. Despite the growth recorded, poverty remains prevalent most especially in the rural areas (Cooke et al., 2016). As of today, the literacy rate in Nigeria is 76.6%, yet there are still significant number of the population that are poor and have little or no education at all. Four of every ten Nigerians live in poverty. Many of them work in agriculture, mostly as fishermen and food crop farmers (Nigeria Statistical Service, 2014). Others are engaged in micro and small enterprises, or ļ¬nding a survival income as daily casual labor. Today, two thirds of the working population outside agriculture is active in the informal economy and many are persistently poor, particularly women (Palmer, 2007).

The Education Act of 1987, followed by the Constitution of 1992, offered a great opportunity to redefine and reform the educational policies in the country. Following this new impulse to the educational policies, in 2011, the total rate of primary school enrollment was 84% which was described by UNICEF as "far ahead" of the Sub-Saharan average (Adu-Agyem & Osei-Poku, 2012). In 2016, the government of Nigeria introduced free education at the senior high school level all geared towards increasing the literacy rate in the country. However, education indicators in Nigeria reflect a gender gap and disparities between rural and urban areas. These disparities drive public action against illiteracy and inequities in access to education (Senadza, 2012). Eliminating illiteracy has been a constant objective of Nigerian education policies for the last 40 years and there is the need to evaluate the potential benefits of education as a means of poverty reduction in Nigeria, most especially in the rural areas. This study therefore aims at examining how education could be used to reduce poverty and enhance development using the case of the Ada East Community in Nigeria.

• Objectives and research questions of the study
The general objective of the study is to examine the relationship between education and poverty, and assess the role of education in reducing poverty and enhancing development in Nigeria. The study specifically aims:

• To assess how indigenes of the Ada community perceive the role of education in poverty reduction.

• To what extent do indigenes of Ada, perceive education as a tool for poverty reduction?

• To examine the relationship between parents (household heads) income and educational level of their children in the Ada community.

• What is the relationship between households’ income and the educational level of children in the Ada community?

• What is the relationship between parents (household heads) level of education and its influence on educating their children in the Ada community?

• To study the contribution of educational policy makers/actors in reducing poverty in the Ada community.

• To what extent has the contribution of educational policy makers/actors reduced poverty in the Ada community?

• How have educational policy makers/actors contributed to poverty reduction?

• Overview of thesis
Chapter two will review relevant literature on the linkage between education and poverty as well as discuss the theoretical and conceptual framework of the thesis. Chapter three will present the research methodology used for the study and includes the study design, study population, sample size and sampling procedure and instruments, sources of data and procedure for data analysis and presentation. The chapter will also provide details of the study area such as location, background as well as demographic characteristics. Chapter four presents the findings of the study. Chapter five analyzes and discuss the findings of the study. Chapter six summarizes, provides conclusion and policy recommendation.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 77 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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