Are you in need of ideas for an essay on the importance of education?
Here is a list of 27 ideas that will get you started!
These ideas come from a variety of online sources and links have been provided in case you need to provide references in your essay.
The Full Series on Causes and Effects of Lack of Education:
- 27 Reasons Education is Important
- 23 Major Barriers to Education
- 11 Lifelong Effects of Lack of Education
This article lists ideas on the importance of education to a person’s life (Points 1 – 16) and to society (Points 17 – 27).
Importance of Education to a Person’s Life
1. Education helps people out of poverty
Poverty is linked to low education. Families that are poor are usually less educated than families that are rich. Plus, if you are born into a low educated poor family, chances are high that you too will end up low educated and poor.
One way poverty affects education is through the direct costs. Even when school is free, the costs of uniforms, travel, and so on can be very difficult for families to cover.
To escape the poverty trap cycle, people need to gain a higher education than their parents and find upwardly mobile employment (this means: jobs that help you get from the working class into the middle class).
Here’s some facts to back up this point.
A recent report found that people with a college education are statistically less likely to be in poverty. Of people over the age of 25, only 2% of college graduates were in poverty. That compares to 13% of high school graduates over 25.
2. Education helps People make More Money
Jobs that require a higher education are usually more highly paid than unskilled jobs. This is because the jobs are more difficult and require a more specialized skillset. If you get an education in a skill area where there is a shortage of available workers, your wages will increase.
To underscore this point, Brookings presented findings that show:
“An individual with a college degree is nearly nine times more likely to make over $100,000 than someone with only a high school diploma and 13 times more likely to make more than $200,000 per year.”
Today, jobs that are in demand, require a high education and pay quite well include:
- Software developer (USD $101,000)
- Health care administrator (USD $98,000)
- Medical Technologist (USD $51,000)
3. Highly Educated People have a Better chance of Getting a Job
Jobs are not that easy to come by these days – even for people with degrees. But there’s statistically a higher chance of you getting a job if you have a higher education.
The 2017 report Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society found that people with higher education have lower rates of unemployment.
In 2015, younger people (ages 25 – 34) with bachelor’s degrees had an unemployment rate of 2.6%. High school graduates of the same age range had an unemployment rate of 8.1 percent.
That’s a huge difference that underscores the correlation between education and employability.
4. Highly Educated People are Statistically Healthier
Statistically, the higher your education, the healthier you are. This could potentially be due to a few factors including:
- Stable jobs with regular hours allow you to plan exercise;
- Cultural differences between working-class and middle-class people;
- More money to participate in recreational activities.
Whatever the reason, the facts stand for themselves. One of the major facts is this:
In 2014, 26% of high school graduates smoked cigarettes. In the same year, only 8% of college graduates smoked cigarettes.
5. Highly Educated People Volunteer More
Educated people tend to do better when it comes to volunteering. The reasons for this may be very similar to the reasons for being more fit. Reasons could include:
- Stable jobs with regular hours allow time to plan regular volunteering hours;
- Highly educated people are less likely to work two jobs;
- People who are well educated have more money to travel to and from their volunteering locations.
Again, it’s a good idea to back this claim up with some facts.
In 2015, 39% of college graduates reported that they volunteered that year. Among high school graduates, it was just 16% who reported that they volunteered.
6. Education helps People make Better Decisions
We have already established that people with a higher education have more job security and more money.
The flow-on effect of this is that they can make better decisions.
When you are more certain that you have money coming in every week, you’ll be able to plan our your budget more. You’ll also have the money to make decisions about living in safer neighborhoods with more public services.
Furthermore, higher education usually teaches critical thinking skills. This means people who’ve been trained in critical thinking may have an advantage when making tough decisions. They will have the education to know how to handle complex decision-making processes.
7. Education helps People make Long-Term Decisions
Not only will highly educated people have the skillset to make tough decisions, they will also have the money to make long-term decisions.
If you have a stable job with a high income each month, you’re more likely to get a loan for a home. You also have the freedom to start investing into your retirement funds.
As you can see, the correlation between high education and high incomes has huge flow-on effects for quality of life.
8. Education can increase Social Status
An education from a respected educational institution can open lots of doors for you.
Many students from around the world flock to nations like the United Kingdom, United States and Australia to get degrees from top-ranking education nations.
Similarly, if you make it to a higher-ranking school or university such as Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford or Princeton you’ll get a lot of social status just for having attended the university.
Even at compulsory school age there are elite institutions. For example, the private school named Eton College in the UK is known for producing no less than 19 British Prime Minsters.
When you get social status from going to a good school or university, we say you have institutional or cultural capital.
This degree from a well-respected university may get you that job interview you were looking for. But, it could also get you social status amongst family, friends and – yes – potential future partners!
9. Education makes People better Conversationalists
Have you ever had a conversation with a person and they were just really interesting? They seemed to know a lot of things and be able to talk to you about anything.
Well, that person is likely very well educated.
In fact, we have some words to describe people who are well-educated in a broad range of topics. You could call them:
There is also a type of education designed to help you become a polymath. It’s called a Liberal Education and you get it by doing a Liberal Arts Degree from a university.
10. Education helps People get Access to Important Information
In the dark ages in Europe very few people had the ability to read.
This meant that knowledge held in books was only available to very few people.
When people don’t have access to knowledge, they’re in a very vulnerable situation. They can’t educate themselves on important information and have a harder time making decisions.
Nowadays, most people in the developed world can read. This huge advance in education levels has enabled any of us to go out there and access information.
In fact, you’re doing that right now! Aren’t you glad you can read?
Educated people also have the knowledge about how to access important information. We’re taught at school about encyclopaedias and libraries. At university we’re taught about scholarly sources and how to access them.
Combine the ability to read with the skills to access information and anyone can help educate themselves on anything. You just need a basic level of education to get started!
11. Education enables People to Critically Analyze ideas
At school, you’re not just being taught facts.
You’re also being taught how to think.
This ability to think involves some pretty advanced strategies like:
- Skepticism: The reluctance to believe something until you see the facts;
- Critical Thinking: the ability to look at something from multiple perspectives;
- Analytical Thinking: the ability to investigate something deeply to find answers.
With these fantastic skills, you can go a long way! You’re less likely to be tricked into believing something that’s not true. You’ll also be able to think things through and come to reasonable, rational conclusions.
12. Education can Help People (especially Women) become Independent and Powerful
Women’s education is a major focus of the United Nations.
This is because many women who are not educated are dependent on their families or husbands to make money.
When women become educated, they can become independent. They can work in better paid jobs, move into more powerful positions in workplaces, and earn an income that’s independent of their husbands.
In the long run, this will mean that women have an equal say in the development of our world.
Furthermore, women with jobs can contribute financially to their families which can help move the whole family out of poverty and give them a better standard of living.
13. Education reduces Unplanned Pregnancies and Sexual Diseases
Basic education on sex and relationships can dramatically reduce sexual diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
Here’s some facts:
The Borgen Project cites that completion of primary school will reduce a person’s chances of getting HIV. In fact, it reduces girls’ chances of contracting the illness 3-fold.
Educated people also have smaller families and they have them later in life. In Mali, women with a high school education have an average of 3 children. Women without a high school education have an average of 7 children.
14. Education helps us Realize our own Potential
Through education, we learn about what we like and don’t like. We learn all about things from science, math, languages and history.
After contemplating all of these different topics, we’ll be more capable of living our best life.
If you don’t get educated, you won’t open up your horizons and learn about the world. You may end up being stuck in an insular life without having experienced all the great things life has to offer.
You don’t need to go to school for this. Maybe being educated for you is just about reading books on a lot of different topics.
Either way, by educating yourself, you can realize your potential and live a more meaningful life.
15. Education can bring Enjoyment to People’s Lives
Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked that education can be pleasurable for its own sake.
I’ve talked all about how education can help people out of poverty, get them jobs, make them more powerful and less sick.
But it’s also important to remember that education can simply be enjoyable and therefore be important for helping you be happy.
Have you ever learned something really cool and just been glad you know that information now?
That’s what I mean by education being a fun activity on its own.
When people are learning just because they love learning, we say they are intrinsically motivated. This is the opposite to extrinsic motivation where people learn things so they can get a reward like a better job.
16. Education makes you more Tolerant
There is some evidence that highly educated people may be more tolerant than lowly educated people.
To take just one example, people from Latin America with a high school education are 45% more tolerant toward people with HIV than Latin Americans with only an elementary school education.
Similarly, Lorelle Espinosa argues that colleges are ideal locations for teaching tolerance. She argues:
The foundations of tolerance run deep in the college classroom, where students learn and confront new ideas, issues and experiences at times vastly different than their own.
This is, of course, if you have a good teacher who’ll teach you different people’s perspectives!
Importance of Education to Society
17. Education prevents Diseases in Society
Health education in classrooms can make an entire society healthier and live longer.
Health care education helps people avoid risky activities and behaviors, conduct basic first aid when someone is injured, and learn when they need to see a doctor.
The Population Reference Bureau argues that education of women on matters of health is especially important because they often set the standards for household behaviors like regularly washing your hands.
Educating children on health is also very important for the future health of a society.
That’s why Save the Children spends a lot of money on health education in developing countries. Here’s what they say the benefit of education is for children’s health:
Most importantly, through education, students learn how to adapt their daily habits to improve their health, nutrition, hygiene and prevent HIV and AIDS, gaining these important skills and behaviors for life.
18. Education helps a Country’s Economy Grow
When the population of a country is more educated, the whole country gets wealthier. This surely highlights the importance of education!
Here’s some facts that might be useful for you:
Hanushek and Wobmann (2010) looked at the evidence on the links between economic growth and education. They found that good quality education systems have a strong connection to long-term economic growth in a society.
Here’s their conclusion:
Economic growth is strongly affected by the skills of workers. What people know matters.
Hassan and Rafaz (2017) looked at economic growth in Pakastan between 1990 and 2016. They argue that:
[A] 1% increase in female education, female labour force participation, education expenditure and fertility rate causes 96% increase in GDP of Pakistan
Woah! Education of women appears to be a powerful way of increasing the wealth of entire societies.
19. Education can attract High Paying Jobs of the 21st Century
You might have heard that manufacturing and factory jobs are becoming pretty rare in developed nations.
Because the high paying jobs of the future won’t be in unskilled labor. Those jobs are disappearing and going to poorer nations.
Instead, all the good jobs of the future will require a very high education level.
Often teachers like me talk about skills for the 21st Century. These are skills like:
- Creative thinking;
- Critical thinking;
- Digital literacy
If children today aren’t educated on these important skills, they’ll have trouble finding the best jobs. And if a whole society falls behind in education, those good jobs will move overseas to where the most highly educated workers can be found.
20. Education can Prevent Wars and Conflicts
History lessons can be very powerful for helping is prevent the mistakes of the past.
If you want to avoid the mistakes of history, you have to learn about how they were made. By educating people about the events leading up to World War 1 and 2, we might be able to teach people how to avoid the same mistakes again.
Similarly, if a society is well educated on the dangers and heartbreak of wars, those wars might be prevented.
This happened during the Vietnam War when students on college campuses began protesting the war. These students worked hard to teach people all over the United States about what was really happening in Vietnam.
War journalists were also instrumental in educating the public on the terrible effects of the war. Video footage, photos and news reports sent back to the United States helped educate the population and helped boost the anti-war efforts.
21. Education is good for Democracy
Most first world nations ensure children are taught democratic citizenship.
Teaching the values of democratic societies – like the fact that we should elect our leaders – helps to keep democracy going.
If we don’t teach about how good democracy is for our freedom and prosperity, we may sleepwalk into an evil dictatorship!
Democracy is about more than voting. It’s about learning the importance of treating each other respectfully, volunteering in our community, and respecting each other’s liberty.
I think Senator Michael Bennet sums this one up well when he says in his blog post:
With education, the common man would be able to select leaders wisely and fight back against the tyrannical instincts of those in power.
22. Education leads to Medical and Technological Breakthroughs
Before we became obsessed with the link between education and money, societies still invested heavily in public universities.
Because strong higher education systems can lead to technological and medical breakthroughs.
Here’s a few things that people invented while learning and researching at universities:
- The Seat Belt: Invented at Cornell University
- Gatorade: Unvented at the University of Florida
- Ultrasound: Developed at the University of Vienna
- CAT Scans: Developed at Georgetown University
- GPS: Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Polio Vaccine: Developed at the University of Pittsburgh
23. Education can lead to Entrepreneurship
The online website Talk Business argues that entrepreneurs are always in need of more education. They argue:
…at their core [Entrepreneurs] are problem solvers and spend their time investigating potential solutions.
In order to solve problems, entrepreneurs enroll themselves in courses, read books, listen to podcasts and pay for mentors. In other words, they’re huge self-educators.
The article goes on to explain that entrepreneurs often don’t seek out a formal education from a school or university. Instead, they seek out answers to their questions from people who have already solved the problems.
So, education is good for business – but don’t narrow your definition of education. Education can come in all shapes and sizes.
24. Education may be the Solution to Global Problems like Climate Change
There’s two ways education can help us get out of the problem of climate change.
Firstly, educating people about sustainability can help us to reduce our ecological footprint on this world. If we recycle more, consume less goods, and ensure we’re cleaning up after ourselves, we can do a lot to help the environment.
Secondly, educating future environmental scientists is vital for finding the solutions to our current environmental problems.
Scientists of the future might find ways to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, reduce the temperature of the globe, or come up with better ways to produce energy.
In the race against time to solve the climate crisis, education may just be the thing that saves us from ourselves.
25. Education is important for Creating a Cohesive Society
Education helps us learn how to behave appropriately.
Emile Durkheim is a major theorist who came up with this concept.
According to Durkheim, schooling is all about ‘socialization’.
By this, he means we go to school to learn about more than maths and science. School has a hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum is all the things we learn above and beyond our textbooks.
The hidden curriculum includes:
- Learning manners;
- Learning to get along with each other;
- Learning to respect other people’s privacy;
- Learning to follow the rules for the good of society;
- and many more things besides!
So, without schools teaching us how to get along, there may be many more conflicts in our communities.
26. Education passes on Cultural Values, Heritage and Information from one Generation to the Next
How did you learn about Christmas? How about the 4th of July? How did you learn about Native Americans?
We learn a lot of these things from school.
So, education also teaches us about our culture and who we are.
This usually takes place in history classes where we learn about the history of our nations and our world.
But we also learn cultural values from the hidden curriculum (If you haven’t read point 25, I talk about the hidden curriculum there).
For example, in western culture it’s polite to look people in the eyes and shake their hands. We also respect our elders. These are cultural values that are taught to us in everyday conversations at school.
27. Education can lead to Gender Equality
There is a lot of evidence that says education is the key to creating a more equal world.
For example, UNESCO states that women tend to be less educated than men in developing countries. However, women overall show more concern for the environment.
Why is this a problem?
Because at the moment women aren’t empowered enough (through education) to create change. More educated women means more power for women to effect change.
Here’s an example:
“Women constitute almost two-thirds of the 758 million adults who are unable to read or write a sentence – a vast pool of people we are not empowering to help us fight environmental shifts” (UNESCO)
There is also the problem of gender stereotypes, which can be challenged through education. If we educate more people about justice and equality, gender stereotypes will diminish which will be good for gender equality.