How Higher Education Helps the Economy
Historically, education was used as a tool to attract people towards patriotism. And people ended up becoming pawns for the military, the economic and social class. This is how mass schooling came about. Initially, only the elites - the people of power and status had access to education. Those of lower classes were deprived of this necessity. Then over the years, through mass agitations and revolutions, education became a human right. Irrespective of their background, people went to schools to learn. This was seen as an achievement in itself. In today's world, the value of education cannot be denied. From being a mere political tool, it has transformed lives and nations. There is profit for everyone in it. A society is reflected by its education. And the levels of education reflect on the job that one takes up. For example, a high school dropout would be designated as a delivery boy or a driver and a graduate, a senior officer or manager of a company.
Higher education not only benefits the individual, but the state and the nation as a whole. It strengthens the economy, increases knowledge and skills. Furthermore, a good level of education means a good salary package. Governments should keep this in mind and pay more attention to their education ministries.
Gives Economy a Boost
Apart from improving the lives of people, education gives a boost to the economy. It is a virtuous cycle which has no end. Through education, people get jobs. And through jobs they are able to buy goods and services, in turn supporting the local businesses; the local economy which in turn boosts the state's and nation's frugality. Research reveals that the more educated an individual is, the more he or she is likely to scale the job market. With education, apart from a few cases, there are more chances of employment. It also means lower crime rates and improved health.
Higher education also results in more productivity. People like to spend more time working and earning an extra few bucks. They don't like being idle.
Education has impacted the economy by:
- Reducing or eradicating poverty
- Improved health
- Reduced malnutrition to some extent
- Addressed inequality
- Increasing the standard of living
- Creating employment opportunities
- Making people aware about their rights
- Increasing employment
- Provides manpower
- Generates business
- Knowledge workers
- Rewarding career
- Contributes towards the overall growth of the nation
- Attracts and encourages investment
- Forms a strong nation-state
- Higher purchasing power
- More chances of buying own house
- Foreign/international students: money exchange (foreign revenue)
- Student expenses boost the economy
- Boosts industrialization
- Global outreach - everyone living under one roof
- More educational institutions - easy access to education
- Political benefits
- Low crime rates
Economists agree with the fact that higher education is one of the major contributors of economic growth. It is a form of human capital investment, and regarded as the driving force for all kinds of development. There are universities and colleges that provide vocational training and apprenticeships to increase employment opportunities. And this goes directly to the economy. This is also one of the reasons why governments and organizations are investing more and more in higher education. It also contributes towards skill developments and knowledge building. Higher education brings about much needed development in emerging nations. It improves the standard and quality of living. Besides qualifications, higher education enhances the skills and the labour market. There is greater economic activity such as purchase of cars, houses and insurances.
The counter-argument is that higher education is not at all related to the economy. There are fewer chances of a person with a degree in getting a job they like. Plus, they may be too qualified for that specific job. Then there is the probability of the person having only qualification but no experience. No company or organization will be ready to take him or her in. Moreover, there may not be any chances of getting employed at all. Thus, it doesn't impact the economy positively or negatively. Rather, it affects the person individually. And with the advancement of technology, people are opting for self-employment with little or no higher education at all. They upgrade themselves through simple online tutorials or technical and vocational programmes; and take up professions of web developers or software engineers without a degree or masters certificate. But this boosts the economy as they run their own small businesses and are not dependent on anyone. Higher education also means increase in urbanization, more people relocating to cities for better job opportunities and lifestyle. This can lead to overcrowding, pollution, unemployment, health problems and increase in crime rate and minor crisis-like situations. People's expectations will not match up to the prospects given by higher education. Most of the cities and metropolitans in the world are currently facing this problem. Governments are doing very little to address this.
Opportunities for All
On the brighter side, there are activists namely, philanthropists, non-governmental organizations and religious bodies that offer scholarships to people interested in pursuing higher education. They provide complete funding and at the end, it's all up to chance whether the person gets a job or not. Moreover, higher education creates competition in the learning and employment sector. Everyone wants the best - best students to the best workforce. Governments should improve their education sectors and this in turn will give a positive boost to their economies. They should serve the needs of the students who will in turn serve the nation's needs. Governments should stand up to the need of the hour and ensure that there is sufficient budget in their education sectors to meet the growing demand. This will increase student number in institutions and more workers. Gone are the days, when various bodies used education as a stepping stone into the political platform. Today's world demands education for all irrespective of race, gender, class and religion. There's no doubt that present times are full of challenges. But governing bodies should stay focused. After all, they stand for the betterment of the economy.