Beyond Ideology: Rebalancing Education Aid

Beyond Ideology: Rebalancing Education Aid

Education has been found to have two categories of influences. In terms of monetary influences, the higher one’s level of education, the less likely one is to be unemployed or in poverty, and the more likely one is to be advantaged in terms of income and income security. Moreover, what is true of individuals is also true of communities and nations. In terms of nonmonetary influences, education has been found to affect personal health and nutrition practices, child rearing and participation in voluntary activities. It also influences the efficiency of public communications and the degree to which adults seek new knowledge and skills over a lifetime.

How communities learn, therefore, is a principal ingredient of their development. In modern economies, schools and universities are the primary means by which knowledge is passed to new generations and how new knowledge is systematically incorporated.

Education first began to be included as a component of foreign assistance in the early 1960s. Initially, education aid was deployed to support workforce development plans, so programs emphasized vocational training, engineering education and immediately applicable work skills. Infrastructure investments such as highways, railroads, dams, bridges and agricultural and industrial machinery were still the most important priorities of development aid, but they needed skilled maintenance. Education aid was a way to make sure the necessary skills were locally available.

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