Breath of Clarity

Insufficient Tertiary Education Hinders Economic Progress

Two hardship tours, fourteen total months of language study, and countless hours of field training. The job was never supposed to be easy. Now, reflecting at the end of my career, removing myself from the situation allows for me to recognize flaws in our system’s approach to international development. Over ten years of experience as a USAID program administrator brought me noteworthy insight into the efficacy of global development initiatives. A serious flaw of the contemporary international support programs is that they neglect to value the impact of higher education. Foreign governments’ failure to prioritize education, instead of focusing on implementing direct economic policy, is not an effective strategy to tackle poverty in underprivileged nations. The lack of sufficient tertiary education in development programs is significantly detrimental to peripheral nations’ economic output production.

The Harvard scholarly article Higher Education and Economic Development in Africa outlines the potential benefits of implementing stronger higher education development programs. For example, according to the article, “the quality of Tanzanian upper-level education suffered to a one percent enrollment rate because of a ten percent spending reduction over the course of the last twenty years”. In order to mitigate poverty, our team must redirect its approach and attack the root of the problem. Education is the foundation of struggle in the peripheral nations. The country’s effort to treat the symptoms of poverty, instead of the foundational issue, is ineffective.

The United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization calculated that a one-year increase in the tertiary education stock would positively impact the growth rate of GDP per capita by approximately .63 percentage points annually. Incomes would boost roughly 3 percent after five years and by 12 percent in 2034. Clearly, tertiary education is vital to produce economic growth. India’s emergence as an economic world power is attributed to its persistent effort to establish high quality education.

The objective of higher education is to build skills that propel growth. This includes practical knowledge of skills that are transferrable to the labor market. Understanding science and technology from a global standpoint will allow individuals to understand professional projects from a variety of perspectives. This will allow the educated to expand expertise through research and approach the economic sector with an innovative mindset. The more mindful strategy to development of human capital will boost the potential for overall economic growth.

Well-trained workers would make it more cost-efficient to build a solid infrastructure. It costs three times the amount to build roads in countries below the Sahara compared to middle-income countries. This is because of the current need to import trained laborers and necessary equipment. The key to changing this condition is to enhance the quality of upper-level education to ensure that the programs matches the professional skills wanted.

There are indirect benefits to gearing more government programs towards tertiary education. Advanced schooling will prepare environmentalists to solve problems and improving security against internal and external threats. Healthcare can improve by offering in-depth training to physicians that will raise employee productivity so that more people can be treated. The foundation of economic advancement will come from training teachers to be well qualified to enhance lower-level schools.

The benefits of renovating higher education programs will benefit both the public and private channels. Individuals will be in a better position to apply for jobs, earn high salaries, and will be smarter with money management. Technically GDP will increase. Most importantly, though, the standard of living will improve. People will feel more empowered and experience a higher quality of life. Consequentially, each individual’s existence will be more valuable to an economy because longer lifetimes result in more productivity. Individual profits will benefit society on a large-scale because higher income households will contribute to higher tax revenues that will ease the pressure on the government to afford state finances. Wealthier employees will be able to consume more, which will benefit a wide array of professionals from a diversity of academic concentrations.

There are obstacles that will make it difficult to make quality upper-level in education a reality. It is worth noting the anticipation of counterarguments to this plan so that the council will be able to plan accordingly. Historically, the well-trained Tanzanians who attain pre-professional degrees in higher education end up moving out of the country. With better working conditions, this original setback won’t be an issue. The other potential inhibitor of progress is that it is difficult to amend existing policy. The statistical nature of the evidence that supports implementation of advanced higher education programs would allow for change to occur.

The report of the Commission for Africa describes Africa’s tertiary education system as being in a “state of crisis,” and urges the international community to act. My proposal to the board is to set aside provide $400 million a year for higher education institutions and up to $2.5 billion over ten years to develop the departments of science and technology specifically. It is vital that the council takes initiative to save struggling countries in this crucial era of globalization.