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How does wealth affect education?

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

It is believed that education is what affects wealth, but often it is vice versa. The quality of education and social capital differs to a large extent between a wealthy and a poor person.

A journal of the education system said that there are different social classes of schools. They observed that there are four different types of schools namely working class schools, middle-class schools, affluent professional schools and executive elite schools. In the working class schools, there were massive amount of students whose parents were blue-collar workers. Additionally, there were a large number of students in one classroom. This is likely to affect the quality of education as it is difficult to address all doubts and ensure that students understand everything. With less funding for the schools, hiring is a tough job in itself. When the funding is limited, fundamental resources cost more and good resources become luxuries.

If we visit a private school and a working class school a stark difference of facilities can be seen. This eventually creates a gap in knowledge and physical education. It is quite evident that availability of facilities makes any process smoother. The indication is that the availability of quality education is smoother for a kid coming from a wealthy family as compared to a poor family. This furthers the gap because of wealth.

Secondly, a second web of wealth and education consists of social capital. Social capital is one of the essential aspects of education simply because it affects levels of opportunities that an individual gets in education. According to a blog by Cambridge, "Social capital is a resource for individuals, whereby people access support and opportunities, but it is also a public resource for society in general.’"

This op-ed would be exploring the individual part of the definition mentioned above. Job is the first word that comes to my mind when a person says opportunities. But opportunities in life consist of more than jobs. It consists of recommendations to good universities, information about career opportunities, access to places that add to your knowledge, access to well taught coaches and the list continues. The question remains, who is likely to have a larger social capital now, the wealthy or the poor? The answer is the wealthy. The better equipped the school or the parents, the better the resources a child receives. This is possible if the parents receive good education that they are able to provide for the child as well but it is not possible for a low earning household.

Social capital is influenced by wealth, which influences education. With the availability of good resources when a family is wealthy, their circle of people and exposure to the world is vast. This enables them to provide for their children to a better extent.

Wealth influences education to a greater extent as wealth affects the quality of education and social capital. Quality of education differs due to different abilities of educational institutions and parents to provide for children. Also, the social capital varies, impacting the level of opportunities that a child gets throughout their lives.

To end this, gap needs to be mended and it is not just the inability of lower social class families that play a role in lack of opportunities but also the discrimination that they face in the society due to their money, status, race, caste and more. Thus providing similarly for each child is not just a family’s but the society’s responsibility too.

Education being an important pillar in social structure needs to stand strong if the hierarchies in social classes need to close. It is humans who created an education system that treats every child poles apart, which is why it should be the people who wanted to stay above and also be held responsible. At last, one cannot add fuel and hold the spark accountable for the fire.

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