It is believed that the determinant of social development is the economy, and the dominant is either politics or ideology. In current conditions, at the stage of transition to an information society, such a dynamic and vivid picture of the world is developing that it is pretty tricky for a person to constantly keep abreast of all events. At the same time, in parallel, but with a particular influence, the processes of globalization are taking place within the framework of which there is a standardization of trends in certain areas of human life. Nevertheless, modern society is not devoid of ailments that have a negative impact and a long history. These may include poverty, which has the most significant economic and social consequences depending on the prevalence scale. This paper examines the aspects of the impact of poverty on education in various dimensions of this sphere of human activity.
Social and Economic Consequences of Poverty
One of the social consequences of poverty is the social disintegration of people. A significant contingent of the poor, who find themselves deprived of opportunities for a decent life, drop out of social and economic life. There is a disintegration of society, the separation of its elements, manifested in the disappearance of shared social values, social unity, and common interests. Poverty is a factor in social tension. Fighting what they see as unfair income distribution, the poor are prone to crime and violent political struggles. History shows that during revolutions and other political upheavals, the poor were the “fuel” of social upheavals and sought to take away various wealth from the highest representatives of society (Tamaleventhal and Elliot 268-276). In fact, at the social level, poverty leads to disintegration and tension in society.
Even if the poor do not commit acts of violence against others, the society in which they live still suffers losses. Poor persons cannot fully participate in the life of society; their creative potential is not revealed and is lost fruitlessly. Especially tragic is “inherited” poverty when the children of the poor with the same abilities have much less chance of self-realization than their peers who were born in families with average incomes. Poverty reflects the prevalence of low-paid jobs and labor processes, defined by low wages, low-income jobs, incomplete and unstable, often bordering unemployment, employment that pushes people into unemployment, and economic inactivity (Michel-Schertges 111-113). Poverty also strongly affects economic growth, leads to a decrease in the competitiveness of the economy, and increases socio-economic differences between regions, cities, and rural areas, leading to apparent conflicts.
Relationship with Education
Education in many developed countries is now trying to meet the requirements of social responsibility and, as a result, inclusiveness. Inclusion implies equal opportunities for every student, regardless of health problems, nationality, race, or other personal characteristics. Poverty at the economic and social level is far removed from the provision of equal opportunities in modern society. If, in theory, educational institutions can be places where these restrictions are erased, then in practice, this is far from the case.
Many modern politicians consider mass school and university education to reduce social inequality. However, too many aspects at every level of education depend on small details, which often lie at the root of unequal opportunities. Poverty, as an external factor, can also affect the education system at several levels. First, the lack of inclusiveness in schools is dictated by well-established stereotypical thinking both on the part of the leadership and in the educational processes. Additional hours, and various hobby groups are very often paid services. Admission to higher education is dependent on entrance exams, and children from more affluent families can afford a private tutor to prepare. As a result, a social problem such as disintegration is only intensifying through the education system. The split of society based on prosperity will play an extremely negative role, hindering the construction of a stable economy and a calm political situation in the country.
Secondly, many spheres of human activity, especially after the pandemic, are experiencing a shortage of qualified personnel. Obtaining an education is in many ways an essential step toward obtaining a specialized qualification. If children from low-income families, for various reasons, cannot complete all levels of education, including higher education, then sooner or later, this situation will affect the economy. Education is the key to many professions that cannot be entered without going through this stage. In this regard, there will continue to be a shortage of labor, and qualified employees, which will start a real hunt between companies in many professions. As a result, wages will rise, and the market will overheat and form an economic bubble that could burst and lead to an economic crisis. The problem, moreover, is turned inward: if there are fewer teachers, fewer people will be able to get an education, contributing to negative dynamics.
It is possible to draw attention to the problem by the public, but the solution lies in an integrated approach in which state bodies are obliged to participate. In this case, it is necessary not only to work with the source of the problem – poverty but also to treat the symptoms in education. Various grants are often offered in the United States to provide education and creativity to underprivileged children (Duncan and Le Menestrel 37). Often, exceptional cases are also associated with the difficulties faced by students from ethnic minorities. Often, academic success and social assimilation in talented children are extremely painful, negatively affecting the realization of potential in society (Rodriguez 7). However, it is only through such stories of abused pupils, who subsequently have the opportunity to share problems with society from the inside, that problems are brought to the attention (Coates 143). However, attention is often significantly delayed but usually still relevant.
Poverty is a social ailment that, as a rule, has many different prerequisites and consequences that negatively affect society and the economy. Education, in this case, is a mirror of the social and economic problems of poverty, although, in its essence, it should be a place of equal opportunities. As a result, education, as a source of skilled labor, and social foundations, suffers in the same way as the whole of society, laying difficulties already at the stage of raising children and students. Lack of inclusiveness leads to social disintegration and division, contributing to stress and a less comfortable environment in society. The economic implications are seen in jobs that require highly skilled professionals. Intervention is required from the public and the state, taking more reactive and proactive measures to gradually eradicate the symptoms and the source of the problem.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. The case for reparations. Columbia University Press, 2015.
Duncan, Greg, and Suzanne Le Menestrel. A roadmap to reducing child poverty. Consensus study report. National Academies Press, Washington, 2019.
Michel-Schertges, Dirk. “Poverty, Social Inclusion and Egalitarianism.” European Social Work–A Compendium, 2019, pp. 101-124.
Rodriguez, Richard. Hunger of memory: The education of Richard Rodriguez: An autobiography. Bantam, 1983.
Tamaleventhal, Véroniquedupéré, and Margaret C. Elliott. “Poverty, social inequality, and aggression.” Handbook of Child and Adolescent Aggression, 2018, pp. 268-294.