Quality Education for Poverty Alleviation

Today is the International Day of the Eradication of Poverty; a day to consider the progress made toward ending poverty once and for all, while also considering the impacts poverty still has on individuals and societies. While Wellspring knows that the effects of poverty are multidimensional and take on different forms, we also know that quality education is a major key to escaping and breaking its cycle. Amid a global pandemic that is putting strains on families and communities worldwide, this sentiment has never been more true. 

Unfortunately, providing quality education to the world’s most vulnerable during a global pandemic is a major challenge. Access to education in the majority world is already riddled with barriers, and school closures make those living in low-income countries further left out of the promise of quality education.

A study by The Education Commission, quoted by the Global Partnership for Education, estimated that before the pandemic,  “… 90% of children in low-income countries, 50% of children in middle-income countries, and 30% of children in high-income countries failed to master the basic secondary-level skills needed to thrive in work and life.” Due to the pandemic’s impact, 700 million children in the majority world are currently cut off from schools.

These statistics only give us a glimpse into the current and short-term effects of this pandemic on education. And while they alone are frightening, we are unnerved when we look to the future and consider the long-lasting effects this crisis will have on education and the trajectory of poverty eradication.

Looking ahead to 2030, accounting for the many impacts of school closures, The Education Commission projects that 69% of the 264 million school-aged children living in low-income countries will not learn basic primary level skills, and 23% will only learn basic primary skills. 

In ten years, more than 242 million students will have lost both the opportunity to learn, grow, and dream at school, and the foundation upon which to build a happy, self-sufficient, and flourishing life. That is an astronomical amount of children missing out on the life-long benefits of quality education.

Not only is education a human right, as per Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals—meaning that everyone, everywhere has the right to inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities—but it is a crucial first step to the current and future thriving of communities and individuals alike.  Without education, efforts toward the United Nation’s fundamental goal of ending extreme poverty, Goal 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals, are threatened to be halted and unravelled. 

There is a direct correlation between education and poverty, one that is cyclical. The less money you have, the less likely you are to receive a quality education. The less likely you are to receive a quality education, the less money you have. On and on, the pattern goes. So, how is this pattern broken?

By investing in quality education. 

Looking at the return on investment of education, “a dollar invested in an additional year of schooling, particularly for girls, generates earnings and health benefits of $10 in low-income countries and nearly $4 in lower-middle income countries.”  An investment in education not only increases learning rates and expands future opportunities, but it helps secure a country’s economic future. It helps to close the poverty gap and create a more equitable and just society for all. So, it’s clear to see that education and poverty reduction go hand-in-hand.

When we consider that Africa will be home to 1 billion young people by 2050, we know that what we do now counts, especially as we continue fighting for and investing in quality education in Rwanda, both during school closures and beyond.

How do we continue to invest in education during school closures? 

Although schools may be closed, our investment in, and pursuit of, quality education in Rwanda has not stopped! At Wellspring, investing in quality education means investing in every person in the educational ecosystem. Even in the midst of the pandemic, we continue to take a people-centred approach to quality education by ensuring that all involved are supported and equipped to ensure that Rwanda’s current and future generations are able to access the life-changing impacts of education.

Between working with communities to bring kids back to the classroom, supporting workbooks and trainings that help parents and leaders understand their role in education throughout the pandemic, and standing with teachers as they learn how to provide a safe space for students, our work continues. Our team knows that quality education is the key to thriving individuals and societies and that the foundation of a healthy and flourishing society starts now and begins with equipping Rwanda’s students for their bright future.

This is why your partnership with Wellspring is so important. By investing in quality education, you are directly supporting the growth and development of Rwanda’s bright young students, ensuring that they have access to an education that will give them the capabilities to be economically self-sufficient adults. Not only does your support produce short-term outcomes as more students across Rwanda access safe and vibrant classrooms filled with growth at the heart and mind level, but it secures the future of each child and helps to break the cycle of poverty, one student at a time.