Linkage of Education with Poverty and Income Distribution
We may recall that the four principles governing the establishment of the facilities for education were identified as: equity, regional parity, quality and efficiency. The need for according due weightage to these principles may differ in their extent from country to country depending on the state of development of the economy. To illustrate this, let us consider the basic features of a developing country where even with five decades of planning more than one-third of its population is illiterate and close to one-fourth of its total population is below the poverty level.
The situation demands concerted efforts to get the children from poor families attend school by providing suitable incentives (e.g. free books, mid-day meals, etc.). Over a fairly long term interval, policies for promoting compulsory education up to a certain level helps in mitigating poverty. This happens when the income levels of poor families increase with the education acquired by their children. There is thus a time gap during which it is necessary to retain the child in the education system without allowing the child to dropout from the system prematurely. While this is one direction in which the education policies should aim, policy orientation is also required for establishing facilities for higher education.
This will be required to meet the demand created for higher education by the middle/high income group families. Due to the ability of the latter to acquire higher education the gain in their earnings will actually be larger than that gained by the members of the poorer families. Thus, in an overall sense, while education contributes to raising the living standards of all sections of the society, the gap between the income levels of the rich and the poor may actually widen. What is significant, however, is to note that with education the quality of life of the poor also improves which in its absence would remain unchanged.