“If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If for 10 years, plant a tree. If for 100 years, teach the people. When you sow a seed once, you will reap a single harvest. When you teach the people, you will reap a hundred harvests”. 7th Century BC Chinese philosopher Guan Zhong
Domestic budgets remain the principal source of education financing, contributing the majority of total financing requirements of the sector. Resources required to train teachers and pay their salaries, construct and maintain school facilities, provide adequate learning materials, and cover management and administrative costs of the education system, are primarily funded through government budgets.
The transformative power of education has been convincingly demonstrated in development literature. Education plays a crucial role in securing a wide range of economic and social benefits, including raising incomes, improving the health of children, improving family planning, and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.
For girls, it means better access to employment opportunities, delaying marriage, making families more prosperous, and increasing the health of the next generation of children.
As Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen would argue, education enlarges the space for individuals to acquire “freedoms” - political and social freedoms, freedom of expanded opportunity, and economic freedom, including protection from poverty.
Education as a stepping stone to a better future
Education, and the associated expansion of human capital, have been the key contributing factors to rapid and sustained socioeconomic growth of most countries across the world. This is best exemplified by the phenomenal growth of the “East Asia Tigers” between the early 1960s and 1990s, and, more recently, by the success of Nordic countries such as Finland, which have put a premium on education quality and equity.