Role of education in alleviating vulnerability
Benefits of investment in education
Investing in education involves acquisition of skills and competences; knowledge and development of skills and attitudes. The concept of investment ultimately implies that there are returns and profits in the future.
Developing countries have invested in education for a number of reasons including:
· Manpower demands
· Encouraging modern attitudes
· Acculturating diverse groups
· Providing economic opportunities for the people
Some of the benefits of investing in education include the following:
a) Increased lifetime earnings
Studies have been done on income levels and it has been established that there is very high correlation between level of education and lifetime earnings. This can be illustrated in age earning profiles:
b) Improved standards of living.
When income increases individuals are able to enhance their overall standards of living. A higher income means that individuals have more disposable income to spend.
c) Increased productivity:
More education may also contribute to raised quality of labour force and hence increased productivity within a given period. A better-educated person is likely do a good job than less educated one.
d) Increased national wealth:
The state benefits in number of ways as a result of educating its people. First as people gain more, the increased productivity leads to individual’s ability to save more and pay taxes.
e) Poverty reduction
The level of poverty in a society can be eradicated by educating members of a society; this is because poverty arises as a result of low human capital endowment or labour market discrimination in absence of this educated people access job in both formal and informal sectors.
f) Social economic ability
An educated individual whether employed or jobless is able to acquire an elevated class simply because of acquired knowledge and skills which other members of society do not have.
Having undergone an education programme one acquires a sense of satisfaction. The same educational and learning programs that carry a lot of educate individuals are better placed when it comes to the number and type of people they interact with. Education is known to improve people’s social interactive skills especially when still at the institutions of learning. While in the institutions individuals (students) get an opportunity to meet and interact with people from different parts of the country or the world;
h) Increase in Literacy levels-
A literate society is able to acquire information, interpret it without changing the content;
i) Good Governance-
Most educated societies cannot vote in an autocratic leader. Education enlightens the society their civil rights and qualities that make a good leader. Educated leaders on the other hand are a benefit to the society because they are better placed to make well-informed decisions concerning governing of the people.
j) Reduction in Petty Crime-
Education plays a crucial role in lowering of petty crime in the society. There is a very strong negative correlation between the levels of petty crime with levels of education.
k) Fertility Reduction: -
Studies have revealed that there is inverse relationship between education of women and size of her family (Schultz, 1993). An educated woman will not be in a position to have many children because of the following reasons:
- She would probably get married at a later age;
- She has adequate knowledge on contraceptives and economically empowered to afford them;
- Educated woman weighs the cost involved in raising children.
Vulnerability refers to any condition or susceptibility to external shocks that could threaten people’s lives and livelihoods, natural resources, properties and infrastructure, economic productivity and a region’s prosperity.
Types of vulnerabilityIn its sense, social vulnerability is one dimension of vulnerability to multiple stressors and shocks, including abuse, social exclusion and natural hazards. Social vulnerability refers to the inability of people, organizations, and societies to withstand adverse impacts from multiple stressors to which they are exposed. These impacts are due in part to characteristics inherent in social interactions, institutions, and systems of cultural values.
A cognitive vulnerability, in cognitive psychology, is an erroneous belief, cognitive bias, or pattern of thought that is believed to predispose the individual to psychological problems.
It is in place before the symptoms of psychological disorders start to appear; after the individual encounters a stressful experience, the cognitive vulnerability shapes a maladaptive response that may lead to a psychological disorder. In psychopathology, cognitive vulnerability is constructed from schema models, hopelessness models, and attachment theory. Attentional bias is one mechanism leading to faulty cognitive bias that leads to cognitive vulnerability. Allocating a danger level to a threat depends on the urgency or intensity of the threshold.
iii) MilitaryIn military terminology, vulnerability is a subset of survivability, the others being susceptibility and recoverability. Vulnerability is defined in various ways depending on the nation and service arm concerned, but in general it refers to the near-instantaneous effects of a weapon attack. In aviation it is defined as the inability of an aircraft to withstand the damage caused by the man-made hostile environment. In some definitions, recoverability (damage control, firefighting, restoration of capability) is included in vulnerability. Some military services develop their own concept of vulnerability.
Sources of Vulnerability
Poverty and race.Discussion of vulnerability inevitably involves poverty and race and related issues of stigma and discrimination. Low income and education from early life and often over the life course, is associated with a wide range of vulnerabilities. Poor socioeconomic status (SES), for example, is linked to deficiencies in prenatal and early nutrition. Malnourished children develop differently, have lower educational achievement, are more likely to have lower SES in later life, and have higher cardiovascular and other illnesses and mortality compared with children who received proper nutrition. Such factors interact in complex ways, and both early developmental experiences and low social status and later adversities contribute to poor future health and mortality.
Studies of parenting find that low family income and maternal hardship hamper children’s cognitive and social competence. Moreover, parents in poor living environments have difficulty nurturing and protecting their children, increasing the likelihood that children will gravitate into activities and peer associations leading to school dropout, premature sexual experience, use of drugs, and other deviant behavior. Family deprivations also increase the probability of abuse and neglect of children, who then seek to escape the household early, associate with inappropriate peers, form tenuous sexual partnerships, have early pregnancies, and often replicate the pattern of inadequate parenting they experienced as children.
Low income and educational attainment have many consequences, affecting knowledge, employment possibilities, housing, nutrition, access to medical care, and much more. Social vulnerabilities associated with low SES are commonly linked as well to racial and ethnic residential separation in communities with poor schools, deficient community institutions, and inferior health-enhancing environments. The poorest residential areas are commonly characterized by noise, heavy traffic, pollution, crime and victimization, high density of liquor outlets, and easy access to illegal drugs. Studies repeatedly find that such neighborhoods have a high prevalence of major disorders and deviant behavior, including infant mortality, substance abuse, school dropout, unemployment, HIV and other STDs, tuberculosis, suicide, mental illness, and crime. Poor and minority children growing up in these environments are vulnerable.
Vulnerability is exacerbated by stigma, prejudice, and discrimination, which in turn lead to segregation by race and class and high concentrations of devalued people, such as those with serious and persistent mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders and those with a history of arrest and incarceration. These stigmatized populations are commonly excluded as well from public programs designed to aid the “deserving” poor.
People under correctional supervision, for example, share multiple vulnerabilities, with large overrepresentation of racial/ethnic minorities, people with mental illnesses, and people with little education and unstable work histories. In 2004 there were more than two million people in correctional institutions and almost five million on probation. Many are incarcerated for minor violations of punitive drug laws, and such people not uncommonly have serious mental illnesses and substance abuse co morbidities. On reentry to the community, they face daunting problems involving housing, subsistence, and receipt of appropriate medical care.
Social networks and lack of social support.Many people in impoverished communities and in much less deprived communities as well, are often vulnerable because of their precarious ties to social networks and lack of needed social supports. Such networks provide both emotional and practical help in dealing with stressors and often make the difference between successful and inadequate coping. Social isolation is commonly found among the oldest old, whose social networks have become depleted by death and incapacitating illness and among others such as people from households disrupted because of divorce, separation, or death, or people with severe and persistent mental illnesses and other disabilities. They are especially vulnerable during community disruptions and disasters, lacking the resources to protect themselves. Deaths among African Americans and the elderly during Hurricane Katrina and the large numbers of elderly deaths that occurred in the United States and Europe during recent heat waves have reflected the inadequacy of resources, networks, and community preparedness.
Personal limitations.Ultimately, vulnerability is expressed at the individual level, however important the social and neighborhood context. Physical and cognitive impairments and serious, persistent illnesses exacerbate vulnerabilities, and many of these problems, such as very low birth weight, congenital defects, childhood abuse and deprivation, conduct disorder, and learning difficulties, begin early in life and make later problems more likely. Early recognition and intervention often prevent serious harm. Moderating the effects of many of these early personal vulnerabilities depends on good access to high-quality medical care and specialized rehabilitation services that are usually less accessible to the poor and uninsured.
Physical location.A major part of the population is vulnerable because of location, such as in low-density and impoverished rural areas; urban ghettos; or other places associated with underdeveloped or deteriorating infrastructure; lack of employment opportunities; inadequate medical, social, and educational services; poor transportation and communication facilities; high crime and victimization; and exposure to environmentally adverse conditions. With economic deprivation and limited opportunities, outmigration of the young and better educated results in unbalanced age distributions, leaving those remaining more vulnerable and with inadequate support.
HOW EDUCATION HELPS TO ALLEVIATE VULNERABILITY
1. The impact of a girl’s (years in school) education on her surrounding (community, country and her future children and health)
· Children of women who have completed primary school are 40% less likely to die before the age of five
· A woman with any education is 50% more likely to have her child immunized
· In developing countries, women with seven or more years of schooling have between 2 and 3 fewer children than women with fewer than 3 years of schooling.
· Studies indicate that the investment in the education of girl child raised the GDP of the entire country by 0.2%
2. Impact of girls education on a girl’s life
· Women with no education are 5 times more likely to lack basic information about HIV/AIDS.
· Women with seven or more years of education marries 4 years later and have fewer children
· An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wage by 10-20% and an extra year in secondary school boosts by 15-25%
Girls’ education has multiplier effects i.e. benefits of girls’ education will be passed on to her children ending intergenerational poverty.
3. Incarceration and conviction rates are high among the least educated.
4. Educational attainment improves health. Additional years of schooling reduces current smoking rates by at least 10%
5. Additional years of schooling increases voter registration and voting. Education increases political interests and other forms of political participation as well as the extent to which individuals are informed about politics.
6. Education provides people with economic opportunities as well as improving the productive capabilities of the labour force hence breaking the vicious cycle of poverty.
Cannon T. (2001) ‘Vulnerability analysis and disaster’ In D. Parker (ed) Floods.
Narayan D. Et. Al (1999) Can Anyone Hear Us? Voices from 47 countries.
Washington DC: World Bank Poverty Group.
Wisner B (2001) Sustainable Livelihood and Vulnerability to Disaster. London: