Studies show that the more educated members a society has, the better off that society is. After all, education enhances everyone’s quality of life, creates a more civilized and safer community (one that also benefits from things like technology and art), and provides us with comforts we couldn’t obtain otherwise.
Education at Work in the Community
When the majority of the population is educated, the communal awareness rises above superstitions and blind faith in a (potentially harmful) religion or leader. As a community, people are less likely to give into a mob mentality and more likely to make a stand for what is morally sound and good. In the U.S. alone, it’s been found that increasing the high school completion rate by just 1 percent for all men ages 20-60 would save the country up to $1.4 billion per year in reduced costs from crime. When the enrollment rate to secondary education increases by 10 percent, a country’s risk of war is reduced by 3 percentage points.
Education at Work in the Individual
Not only does education increase the overall wealth of the community and decrease the likelihood of discord and crime, it also leads to benefits on the individual level. Citizens with some form of higher education are often shown to be more engaged, creative, independent, and prone to critical thinking. Likewise, they’re less likely to be ethnocentric and dogmatic. Educated individuals are healthier and have a longer life expectancy (as much as four years longer for women and eight for men). Plus, if we removed the barriers to secondary education, more than 400 million people would be lifted out of poverty, reducing the world’s poverty-stricken population by half.
While these benefits are generally associated with college graduates, that’s hardly where the benefits of education start.
Just One Extra Year of Education Can Impact Generations
Education even on a very basic and elementary level can greatly improve a community. Even just one year of extra schooling has been shown to increase a person’s later earnings by 10 percent over the course of a lifetime. That one year of extra schooling can also increase the GDP by 0.37 percent.
Like wealth and poverty, education is often generational. Educate the parents and the children are more likely to be educated in turn. Children of educated parents benefit in other ways, too. They are less likely to be malnourished and more likely to receive necessary vaccines. If the mother can at least read, the child is 50 percent more likely to live past the age of 5. For women who need to refrain from having children for various reasons, an extra year of schooling can reduce fertility rates. Mothers who have at least a primary education are less likely to die in childbirth as well.
Restavek Freedom is using education to combat the harmful restavek system, a widely accepted system in Haiti in which children of impoverished families are sent to live with wealthier acquaintances. Once there, the children are typically treated as domestic slaves. They have very little free time and certainly no time for education. However, if we can educate both the children and the parents, we can impact generations of Haitians to come by breaking the harmful restavek system’s poverty cycle and kickstarting all of the amazing benefits listed above.
Do you take your education for granted? Did you realize what a huge impact it has on your life? More than just affecting your paycheck, an education impacts your health, your lifespan, your family life, and your relationship with the world. What can you do to give other individuals just like you the benefits of education, which seems to so many people more like a right than a privilege? Visit https://restavekfreedom.org/ to join us in changing lives.