Thursday, March 31, 2011

Education Is the Key to Development in Egypt

The revolution has happened and many people think that chop chop over night everything is going to be alright. 

What happened in Egypt, I have to say I never have foreseen it and without doubt it has re-birthed every Egyptian within us and flamed hope in our hearts. Yet, we need to understand that it is not that simple and the rage in the streets is just the beginning.

The first thing people started calling for is “Freedom, Dignity, and Humanity”. Those three words if can imply anything will imply that people want to live in a good standard of living within decent human conditions.

Changes wouldn’t happen within few days. My generation might not be able to feel the huge progression and outcome of this revolution up until at least maybe 10 years, but that shouldn’t be bothering us. It should be rewarding. We are going to be the generation that will build up this country. 

In order to build up the country, we need to state the problems that have let us to this dreadful state. What are the issues we are facing in Egypt? It is the bad economy, poverty, unemployment, dictatorship, low nutrition, lack of health care, illiteracy and you can keep on adding to the list.

We need to think then: How to improve on those conditions? The answer would be education. Yes, education.

Education and development are highly correlated and can be very broad subjects. They are definitely not as simple as having the ability to read, write and earn some extra cash to buy all the possessions you need for daily life. Egypt is one of the richest countries in the world with its resources but the inadequacy in using those resources at the right place, time and dosage has resulted in what we see today as in poverty, illness and the poorest living conditions.

If you preview development in any country in terms of economic improvement only then you are not seeing the big picture. Development means improvement in every aspect of life in daily life, health, democracy and more importantly satisfaction and happiness. It is not surprising that many people who live in very good economic conditions in Egypt will still want to live in one of the developed countries instead. It is the peace of mind and equality that attracts them to other places. It’s not always about money. It is to create a harmonic community that is able to live, discuss and simply have a decent life and community.

So, how can education bring about this development in our country?

Some statistics may be able to answer this question. According to UNESCO , below are some direct relations between literacy and development indicators.

1.       Average Life Expectancy: Educated people live longer.

2.      Children Retention at School: Children of educated parents participate and are retained longer in schools.

3.       Infant Mortality: Children of Educated mothers are more likely to survive before the age of 5.

4.       Nutrition and Health Standards: Educated people eat healthier and enjoy better quality of life.

5.       Economic Income: Educated people are enhanced with more earning capabilities and opportunities.

If you take a look at those development indicators, which are only some of the factors than works to enhance any community, you will be able to derive that educated societies enjoy better living conditions.

For development to concur, three prospects must be met: Economic, social and political on both individual and the community levels. Studies have shown that with each addition year of schooling, wage increases between 10-20 percent; farm output increases by 5 percent; and female fertility decreases by 5-10 percent. Asides from these statistics, we will see more effective use of technology, engagement in entrepreneurial activities, responsiveness and healthy, competitiveness among markets, healthier society, more involvement in political decisions and processes, reduction in inequality, respect of human rights as well as having a society being able to make informed democratic decisions.

The above advancements if happened, it will be great. Most importantly it has to be felt by the vast population of the country and not just be written in reports. However, literacy is only the first step in development. Literacy does not only mean being able to read and write but to understand the situation in the current world, which will take us to the educational level where we will be able to acquire knowledge and skills to make us unique and influential. Good higher education can then prepare us to advance in scientific research. Only then can we move to more development and enhance our way of life.

The answer is education.

Image Credit to Photographer: photostock

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