How Poverty hinders higher education in our society

A goal is a relative term that we resolute in our mind and chase it with our full might. We hatch our plan and try to execute it with whatever resources available in our hand. When we manage to reach the goal, we consider the endeavor successful and feel ecstatic. If we miss it, we feel miserable. Though a goal is created in our mind and its manifestation occurs solely due to our own individual thriving, We often can’t help but measure our own success using the yardstick of others achievement. Any comparison between one’s achievement with the others is only valid when both of them comes from equal socioeconomic and educational background. No person in the world has ever had a completely identical background, and therefore, comparison of two persons in terms of success loses its shine at this very ground.

Back in 2012, when the first desktop computer came to our house with a broadband connection I felt like a king. In the evening, I called my friend to help me installing the Windows 7 operating system in my brand new PC. Everything was normal, and I was quite content with the Windows 7 machine until I accidentally landed on a blog post talking about security vulnerabilities of Windows operating system and how almost all Linux based OS has an edge over this aspect. Probably, I was initiated to Linux on that day. For a newbie like me especially who comes from the non-technical educational background, it was a daunting task to install Linux based OS in the computer single-handedly. I, somehow managed to install it with help of many video tutorials and ‘How-to’ blog posts. There is no shame to admit that Linux had kindled the geeky spirit within me. It taught me to do something different when everybody prefers sticking to Windows system for its ease of use and simplicity. Though it sounds fascinating journey, it comes with the cost that I paid in terms of devoting way more time into learning Linux instead of my own study.

As the color of initial excitement that every Linux enthusiast feels in their earlier days with Linux got faded away, the ground reality hit hard on my face. Maintaining a stable Linux system and keeping it up to date is not an easy task when you have the habit of messing around things. I slowly came to realize many limitations that Linux had under the hood which I took for granted in Windows OS. Unlike Windows, Linux does not always offer ‘click to install’ software. Many times you will be required to get your hand dirty while installing a piece of software in Linux. In this course, I understood the basics of the Linux system which functions quite similarly to our mind. A Linux operating system is primarily built on a kernel. You can imagine the kernel as the primary part of our mind which governs our basic activities required to ensure our survival like walking, eating, making vocal sounds, etc. Similarly, in Linux machine, a kernel work as a backbone upon which entire operating system is built. An operating system is a collection of many software acting in unison. One software is dependent upon other software. That means you cannot install a program until you install all those software which are required for correct functioning of the program. For example, you cannot install Microsoft office suite unless your machine is equipped with a correct version of the DOT.NET framework.

In Linux OS too, we have dependencies which are required to be met before we install a software. So, the takeaway from this whole paragraph is that you need to install correct dependencies before you begin installing your desired software. If you do not install dependencies first and try to install the software, it will not work and print weird kind of error message on the screen. Therefore, dependencies are the prerequisite for any kind of software.

Now, let us understand what a software basically offers to us. A software makes our computer capable of performing a certain kind of task. A dependency, on the other hand, makes our computer capable to build further capability which comes in disguise of a software. We will see this concept by connecting it with our education system. Suppose, you want to pursue a master degree course on economics. The university will enroll you only when you have a bachelors degree in economics and you are proficient in reading and writing English. The eligibility criteria for every academic course are drawn to ensure that the pupil has sufficient dependencies installed in his mind to absorb all the concepts and facts taught in the higher study course. If a student who does not meet eligibility criteria gets admission then he will find difficulty absorbing the course materials. Certainly, a higher academic degree equips us with better capabilities, but it can only be acquired when adequate dependencies are present. Now, the question is whether we can build the required dependencies for higher education without spending a staggering amount of money. The answer is a big NO. Though many tutorial videos, blogs are available on the internet, these resources have not attained such level of maturity to completely substitute traditional education system.

Imagine a person who belongs to grass root level of our society. The economic disparity between the haves and have not have been crushing him from his very childhood leaving him with substandard quality of education and limited exposure to opportunity. In contrast, consider another person who belongs to a very rich family. It will be instinctively concluded that the person who belongs from well to do family is more likely to success in business and higher education because of the financial support that he inherits from his financially rich family background. You may argue this contention does not always hold true because we have plenty of examples where people from very poor background reached the pinnacle of success. I agree with you that their patience, planning and hard work culminated to the level of achievement which is beyond imagination for a billionaire’s progeny. But If we compare the academic and financial success rate of a rich kid and a poor kid, the ever-widening fault line becomes evidently visible. The success rate of persons belonging from the rich family is far better than its counterparts.

This disparity has always been a part of our society, though many initiatives have been taken by many governments to minimize the gap. Still, many things need to be done to build a truly conductive atmosphere to ensure easy availability of higher education among the neglected section of our society.

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About KOUSHIK DAS

I am Koushik Das, and I live in Kolkata, India. I am a passionate personal finance blogger at iplancash.com
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