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Role of Education in Poverty Reduction
Poverty reduction is one of the central goals of the modern society. The international community and national governments acknowledge the importance of raising the quality of life for ensuring sustainable development and design various political, social, and economic measures aimed at eliminating poverty (Colclough, 2014). There is a growing awareness that education plays a key role in raising the living standards. It fosters self-understanding and personal growth, raises people’s creativity and productivity, empowers the most vulnerable populations, and promotes technological advances (Omoniyi, 2013). This essay looks closer at the place of education in the modern society and its potential to create a better future in poverty-stricken regions.
Education has numerous positive effects on the society and individual people. To begin with, education is associated with improved health. Research shows that well-educated people live longer and healthier lives because their literacy skills help them prevent and manage diseases more effectively (Villoutreix, 2013). Literacy helps learn more about maintaining healthy lifestyles and caring for children, which directly affects well-being and life expectancy (Plan International, 2016). Furthermore, education makes people more conscious and socially active. It has been found that educated individuals are more likely than those with limited educational attainment to have strong civic engagement and participate in volunteering and voting (Villoutreix, 2013). Literacy empowers the most vulnerable populations including women and increases their self-esteem and opportunities. Educated women have more chances to become successful and take control of their lives (Plan International, 2016). These are only some of the examples of how education can help the society.
The most powerful effect of education, however, is the reduction of poverty. The first and most important contribution of education is that it increases the workforce productivity (Omoniyi, 2013). More educated and competent workers make the country more successful and competitive in the global market and allow adjusting to the global technology and production trends. Second, education makes allows people not just to be employed, but to find more secure jobs with good working conditions. Literate citizens have more opportunities and are empowered to climb the career ladder, which benefits their families, communities, and the country in general (The Borgen Project, 2014). No country can achieve stability and economic growth without providing the majority of its citizens with the quality education.
Examples of several economically successful states prove that education is the key to eliminating poverty and ensuring economic stability. Thus, in 1971, when the United Arab Emirates were established, the overwhelming majority of its population was illiterate and lived in small, poverty-stricken villages. By 2013, however, its economy has grown by nearly 231 times, making it one of the most successful states in the Middle East. Such an impressive growth can be partially attributed to large investments in education that have been made during the past decades (Al Subaihi, 2012). Currently, more than 90% of the total population are literate, and almost all citizens of the working age have higher education. Singapore has enjoyed even greater economic success due to investments in the educational sector. It has managed to raise its competitive advantage in the global market and create a technologically-advanced, high-income society in only one generation, all due to delivering quality education to its citizens (Welsh, 2012).
Thus, one can confidently claim that education is the heart of economic development and stability and the key to reducing poverty. It raises workforce capacity and provides people with more opportunities, which in turn benefit the society in general. Examples of UAE and Singapore vividly demonstrate how education can change the face of a country in just a few decades by making it more powerful and economically successful. Experience of these countries should be used by developing, poverty-stricken states that currently lack the capacity to build a better future.