How is education the best economic policy for underdeveloped countries? let's delineate the contours of it……

Hasnain Gul
Published in
6 min readApr 9, 2023
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Education, as well-articulated by Tony Blair, is the best economic policy. Because it is a great engine of growth and development, it is the education through which the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, the son of a mineworker can become the head of mine, and a child of a farmworker can become the president of a country.

It is a widely accepted fact that human capital is a significant determinant of economic growth, and to achieve a higher level of economic development; it is essential to uplift the standard of human capital. In the economics literature, human capital is a measure of the level of education attained by the workforce. In this regard, education is the pivotal element that elevates the quality of human resources by enhancing its skills and ability.

Consequently, the better quality of the labor force will result in higher productivity, yielding improved economic growth for a country in the long run. Furthermore, being stock of skills and competencies, education opens the doors to economic opportunities for individuals. It eradicates socioeconomic woes like unemployment and poverty, leading to an upturn in the living standards of folks.

If History is any guide, then education has turned the fortunes of nations.

Whether it is the industrial revolution in the West or the economic boom of Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan), education is always at the center of progress. Because being the building block of growth and development, it eases the plight of nations. It ensures the socioeconomic well-being of people and uplifts the economic prosperity of the countries.

Education Enhances National Economic Growth

Spending on education is tantamount to investing in human capital. Human capital development, in turn, will pay back the amount in the shape of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Moreover, education will also upgrade the human development level in the country.

Education in the age of the knowledge economy is the fundamental growth element

In contemporary times, economic growth heavily leans on knowledge, tech, and the bank of cutting-edge data. Amid such scenarios, human capital development takes precedence over any other growth component because it sets the stage for the progress of others. Education, the cornerstone of human resource development, plays a pivotal role in uplifting the standard of the workforce. Education helps add to the number of the skilled labor force through vocational training. Moreover, it enlarges the knowledge base of a country.

Research and development is the pillar of economic growth.

Research and development, as conspicuous from powerful economies like the United States, China, and Japan, is the pillar of growth. The boom of these economic giants has substantiated the idea that economic progress devoid of research and development factors is a hard nut to crack.

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It is because a country retarded in research and development will only be depleting its treasure; rather than adding to its exchequer. Higher Educational institutes, being the cradle of research, are the primary sources of up-to-date knowledge and suggestions crucial for economic decision-making. In that regard, education is the backbone of research and development, which keeps the economy burgeoning.

Technology Drives Economy

Technology is the key driver of economic growth. Because the technology helps expedite the production and delivery system of goods and services without compromising the cost and quality. For technology to thrive, education is the first and foremost step to start. It is education that sets the stage for the technological progress of a country.

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Whether it is the development, assimilation, or use of technology, education plays a pivotal role in it. In addition, it too is indisputable that with the utility of education added by technical factors, the innovative capacity of countries gets boosted. Consequently, technology and innovation bring an upturn in a country’s growth.

Education is the ticket out of poverty.

Poverty lies at the heart of almost every socioeconomic problem. From the lack of access to education to reduced economic activity, poverty is always there, running the show behind the scenes. In an attempt to counteract poverty, education is the chief feature that helps lift people out of the quagmire of destitution. Poverty, the worst in its form, is a state where people cannot find bread and butter to satisfy the basic needs of life. Therefore, education through various technical training enables the masses to meet the labor market requirements. As well as it enlarges the pool of opportunities for people.

Increasing literacy raises standards of living.

The standard of living is a significant determinant of socioeconomic growth, among others. In a broader spectrum, it focuses on material factors such as per capita income and economic opportunity. All such elements are fundamental indicators of economic growth. Moreover, anywhere these growth indicators are at the nadir, there persists a host of societal evils such as increased crime rates, health hazards, etc. Hence, constant efforts to uplift living standards are the need of the hour worldwide, particularly in underdeveloped countries. In this context, increasing the literacy rate is of paramount significance. Because of the increasing literacy rate wider pool of economic opportunity, and auspicious per capita income can easily be ensured among the masses.

Education, population, and economy are interlinked phenomena.

Education, population growth, and economy are three joints that form the growth triangle. This connection is so intricate that malfunctioning of any of the three would affect the other two, ultimately putting obstacles in the path of progress. Across the globe, there is a ubiquitous debate going on these days that the rapidly growing population will exhaust its resources soon. For instance, in Pakistan — the fifth most populous country — around four and a half million people are born annually. Experts say it is alarming since this unbridled expansion is stunting the already scant progress of the country. The same is the plight of other underdeveloped countries, but despite the gravity of the issue, nothing substantial is done in these areas. Resultantly, these developing countries with population explosion are bearing the brunt of poverty, hunger, and a chronic wane in economic growth.

Primary education of women helps control population growth.

As far as the birth control matter is concerned, piles of research studies are present that rave on the idea that increased levels of women`s primary education abate the fertility rate. Because with the help of education, women become independent and can have a say in the decision related to child-bearing. Moreover, education provides insight into family planning for females to decide precisely. As a result, the strain on the country`s resources — the plight of most of the underdeveloped world — gets eased. According to the Environmental Sciences, unsustainable population growth exhausts a country`s resources. Thus, economic growth gets hampered in the long run. Education, in this regard, has the leverage to control the unbridled population growth, which, in turn, ensures the smooth sailing of the economy.

The Success of South Korea vs. Failure of the Pakistani Economy

It is evident from success stories of advanced economies like South Korea that the more fiscal share to education, the more economic growth. It, too, is clear and vivid from the disparity of weaker ones like Pakistan that less spending on education yields lower growth. The share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to education in Pakistan raves around 1%, as per the economic survey of the country last year, which is a significant deflection from the globally set standard of 4%. The fact is that Pakistan globally lies at the bottom of the list when it comes to education and the economy. On the other hand, South Korea holds the 10th position in the list of top economies of the world.


Clearly, from the comparison of the countries like Pakistan and South Korea, it can be concluded; that education is the best economic policy that is a decisive factor in the boom or doom of a nation. It is because education is the base of human development which leads to the development of a country in every sphere of life. It is on the record that education has turned the fortunes of the nations. It helped countries to purge poverty, upgrade the living standards of the masses, and to check unbridled population growth. Besides, in modern times where factors like technology and knowledge reign the economic sector, better education is unavoidable. Therefore, the best economic policy for the underdeveloped world is education that can attenuate their plight.

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Hasnain Gul

An avid reader and independent thinker who finds magic in words