How education helps improve people’s lives
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Swami Vivekanada of said a century ago, “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man”. The manifestation of the perfection is the key here; else the perfection remains latent and does not help improve lives.
With an increasing trend towards knowledge based economies worldwide, education is the main hope for people to actively contribute to the fullest of their potential. Pursuit of success and pursuit of education are interrelated. On the other hand, lack of education means less opportunities and less prosperity. In emerging economies, education brings new hope and new types of jobs to the hopeful young generation. Elsewhere in developed world, it is education that propels people to successful careers.
In some far flung poverty stricken regions of the world, where education has not spread as much as it should have, it is a small ray of education that brings a lot of hope to the entire community of the hardworking few who manage to receive some education. It could be one educated person in a village or one educated woman in a family. Once a member of family gets educated, he or she can try to pull the whole family out of poverty.
At a broader level it is education which is key to informed electorate and vibrant democracies. Better educated people can run efficient democracies. There are numerous examples where complete lack of education leads to undemocratic societies. Educated parents can be inspirational role models for their children. Communities and groups where education has greater emphasis tend to have not only more successful people, but also a greater clout as a group. Singapore has had some interesting government policies in 1980s to promote smarter young generation, where government paid some incentive for two graduates to marry.
While this is true for any place in the world, the importance of education in meritocracies like USA cannot be overstated. In American culture every young person is supposed to go through his or her fair share of hardwork and frugal days of student life before they can expect to be making a good living. Many students support themselves while juggling through the rigors of studies and part time jobs. This in turn makes them better prepared to face the challenges of the future and also leads to greater self-esteem. There is hardly any career path where a good formal education is not a requirement. Education also opens doors for immigrants, who armed with advanced degrees gain the knowledge and confidence to compete in a new place.
It is mainly due to education that the son of a Kenyan father could hope to be the President of United States. It is the power of education which enabled South Korea born Dr Jim Yong Kim to head a Medicine department at Harvard and then become the President of the Dartmouth College of USA. In July he will take over as the President of the World bank. In the 2012 US presidential election, although there will only two candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, there will be 3 advanced degrees from Harvard – a JD for Mr. Obama and a JD and MBA for Mr. Romney. So it seems irrespective of political parties and pursuations, American people like to elect highly educated people to the highest offices.
In the world of Science and Technology, obviously education is the key to advancement. While many know that Steve Jobs was a College dropout, few know that he took a Calligraphy class at college which transformed the world of computers with aesthetically pleasing fonts and later with the user friendly iPhones and ipads. Even in a place like UC Berkeley where everyone is highly educated or getting highly educated, little better academic credentials than most help improve the lives – well, if you win a Nobel Prize, Berkeley would award you with a lifetime free parking permit!
(This article is written for a World Bank Contest, at the same time goes well with our theme)
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