The chance to prosper education

By The Editorial Board 14 April 2024, 10:00AM

The steering committee for the district development grant is making its rounds and seeing what each of the constituencies has done to invest the $1 million given to them. This step will show how successful the initiative has been.

Some positive stories are coming out. There have been investments reaping rewards such as fishing boats and small and micro business ventures. However, the biggest investment should be education.

If anything, the story about the Otago University educator from Iva in Savaii should have opened up some eyes. It is also very sad to note that 838 students at the National University of Samoa are in danger of getting deregistered.

These students rely on their parents to pay their fees, and during a time when the superannuation fund is not giving the loans on time, the district councils can step in to help. The reality is that the district councils can now help keep these students in scool.  

Education is the best use of the district grants. Education isn't just about acquiring knowledge. It's an investment with high returns. It can certainly help young Samoans earn more money or get a better job.

Education can also, improve health, both mentally and physically.

Did you know the World Bank reported that every additional year of schooling can increase a person's income by 10 per cent? Think of education as an investment, as it brings wide-ranging returns. It helps people develop thinking, communication, and problem-solving abilities — all of which are essential for success in any career path that is chosen.

One study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the unemployment rate for those with bachelor’s degrees was 2.2 per cent compared to 3.6 per cent for those with a high school diploma. Needless to say, education as an investment can inspire people to a healthier life.

Education as an investment is the best decision. It's not just about reading books uncountable times! It's more about getting into the world of possibilities.

Each year of education for a person yields approximately a 10% rise in annual earnings, outpacing returns from the stock market.   This consistent 10% yearly increase persisted even amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, beyond the individual graduate's earnings, society at large reaps the benefits of a more educated nation. Countries can do a lot to help, starting with ensuring that all children have access to a quality education from pre-school onwards.

Education, recognised as a fundamental human right according to various international declarations, serves as an essential human service. Across the globe, nations ensure a minimum standard of education, a tradition upheld for centuries. Individuals and families invest in education, as do employers and governments.

In fact, most countries allocate 3-5 per cent of their GDP and 10-20 per cent of government expenditure to education, as indicated by Education Finance Watch 2023.

Beyond its inherent value, education also brings economic benefits.

The substantial economic return generated by education appears to be causal. It is the quality of education that determines wages, not the diploma without quality.

 Education holds significance beyond the financial returns it offers to students; it extends far beyond monetary gains. Education broadens the spectrum of choices available to individuals, acting as a conduit for the transmission of social values across generations. Moreover, it enhances both present and future consumption.

The transformative power of education is evident as it empowers young individuals to make informed and improved choices, fostering a sense of value for their own future and that of the global community.   In essence, education instills a future-oriented perspective in people.

Education fosters societal inclusion, with research indicating that investing in girls' education yields particularly significant returns. Millions of dollars are allocated from public funds to institutions and individuals, operating on the assumption that a well-educated population significantly contributes to societal well-being. To assess the efficacy of this investment, it becomes crucial to evaluate the social returns of education, measuring its impact on the overall economy.

Despite the longstanding economic concept of human capital spillovers, quantifying these social returns remains a complex undertaking, raising questions about whether the societal benefits of education might surpass private gains, as speculated for over a century.

The collective benefit of education expands with an increasing number of educated individuals. When residents in a community or metropolitan area derive advantages from having educated peers, they essentially harvest social returns from the education of others.

Moreover, education plays a pivotal role in enhancing productivity. Improving access to schooling and elevating the quality of education becomes imperative as countries grapple with productivity slowdowns in the region.

The broader or social benefits of education encompass both monetary and non-monetary returns. These include reductions in crime rates, controlled population growth, decreased poverty, economic growth in regions, augmented tax revenues, a cleaner environment, enhanced health for individuals and their families, slower disease spread, stability in two-parent homes, education for children, lower mortality rates, diminished prejudice and intolerance, increased support for civil liberties, active participation in civil society and politics, and advocacy for climate action, among others.

By The Editorial Board 14 April 2024, 10:00AM
Samoa Observer

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