The barbarous cycle of backwardness and poverty in relation to education

WHAT IS THE MAJOR DRIVER OF POVERTY IN LDCS? The general factor of wealth is those who attain a proper education are the most candidates for wealth and prosperity, while those who attain poor or no education are the biggest candidates for poverty, holding other factors constant.

The Cycle of poverty in developing countries, holds that;

Holding other factors constant, the poor in society produce children and can not afford them a descent education. Eventually, these children either do not go to school, or go to very poor schools and most do not complete school. The illiterates and school drop outs later settle to a life of peasantry and in turn become poor parents, who produce poor children and educate them in poor schools, and cycle continues.

On the other hand, the virtuous cycle of prosperity has it that the rich produce children, send them to acquire a descent education, they join tertiary institutions, become skilled, join the job market with high paying incomes, and become rich, produce children and send them to acquire a descent education, and the cycle continues.


In due consideration of the above cycles, it is quite imminent that the poor will remain and their descendants will be poor, while the rich shall remain so and so shall their future generations. It creates a situation related to the one that was documented in the constitution of Carolina; Let the children of leet-men be leet-men and so to all generations.

If the cycle continues, the income gap continues to widen, and this may bring up an undesirable duo economy; where one class is inherently wealthy, rich and classic, while the other class is languishing in poverty, want, backwardness, ill health and starvation. We acknowledge that already we have such classes, and further inaction may further the class division. At the height of such generational income and social inequities, comes an absolute despair among the poor citizens and civil strife may arise from there uninvited.

Holding in mind that education is the ultimate guarantor of prosperity and wealth accumulation, and considering the fact that Education is commercialized and the poor and marginalized have limited or no access to the basic education to acquire skills, there is need to solve the problem of acquisition of knowledge and skills.

This calls for a direct state intervention to break the barbarous cycle of poverty and backwardness, by ensuring equal acquisition of knowledge and skills.


The answer is NO. Whereas the barbarous cycle of poverty stresses that education is major determinant and focuses all its forces on inclusivity and exclusivity, statistics have shown that even in the presence of people who have attained that education in African countries, the conditions have slightly improved. This calls for a shiner torch into the components of the education system itself.


Very interesting read but it’s lacking facts, yes I agree that those who have the opportunity to attend good schools and afford university education are more lucrative than some of the people who had no formal education but that’s only in some instances. I have seen children of rich parents who attended the best schools and got lucrative jobs end up as drug addicts and became nuisance to their family and rich parents. I have also noticed people from poor background who attended Community schools with other poor children, rise up to be Governor’s of state’s and even Presidents of their country like Dr Goodluck Jonathan the man without shoe’s while attending primary school and he had to go fishing with his father to raise money for his secondary education and started teaching and working in the ministry as a clerk to fund his university education and later became a lecturer and went into politics as a Deputy Governor from their he became a Governor and then a Vice President from there to the the Elected President of Nigeria, he came from a poor background with poor parents and was able to do what time and people thought was impossible. We need to motivate our Urban poor that they have a chance and opportunity to make a difference in their lives. Being born poor or coming from a poor home is not a course but a blessing just like Jesus Christ the don of God born in a manger and became our Lord and saviour

Thank you Timothy,

I agree with you on this. There is an adage that says, “not all that shine, are diamonds.” I think we should try to do away with such negative thoughts. We should change those negative philosophies and stereotypes. What we should do is to empower and help those we consider to be in poverty to realise that they have potential within themselves like those that are rich. That will give them the ability to be more resilient and work hard to achieve their future goals. Otherwise, giving them the resources without the motivation with examples like the you have mentioned, will as well result in waste of resources with no positive impact.

Infact, when you do research, you can realize that the ratio of potential children among the poor to the ratio of potential children among the rich, will not be that much greater. So let’s continue to give them power, resources and motivation. They can do better than what we think in theory.

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I understand that some people beat up the odds and make it in life. That is why the theory holds that, “Holding other factors constant…”, because we know even in a desert there are always some shrubs and scattered species of education. Once we look at this objectively, then we shall pave a way forward. The idea is that where as there are people who are genius in society and can sail through the storm, there is need for a levelled playing field, where even the ordinary man can easily ride through. Unless we create this levelled playing field, we shall keep as islands of stagnation in a world leaping towards excellence.

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I take this opportunity to share my thought on this topic which actually happens to be very close to my heart i.e. Education.

I am an advocate working in the education field in India and quite often I find myself talking to little children belonging to all sorts of backgrounds who want to do this and that when they grow up. Regardless of the fact that their parents would be able to invest in their future or not, these children have big dreams.

Now the problem seems to be on 3 different levels:

  1. Where is the child getting the inspiration?
  2. Whether his/her education is supporting his dreams?
  3. Is there a link between that education and employment?

If I talk about India, the answers to these questions determine whether the child will or will not break the shackles of his generational pedagogy. Especially in rural and remote areas, children do not have access to many resources of education or employment. A big chunk of these children dreams about working for the organized sector in India but the truth is that organized sector in India is only about 10%. This automatically complicates matters because the resources required to make it there are already thin and in the grasp of the haves. The circle of poverty is being fed by these dreams and the desperation of not making it there.

So, according to me, while basic education is must, I think what we really need is to connect children with new possibilities that they are not aware of and the practical aspects of making the most of what they have. They need skill to create their own choices and succeed, and not depend on companies or corporations for jobs.

My question always is: how can we inspire the children to look for alternative careers and dreams that need fewer resources but have huge potential. That is the gap that needs to be bridged. And it needs to be done in all the 3 areas: inspiration, education and skilling.

I am already working in this direction in India and have had a bit of a success in dealing with these things. Even so, lots needs to be done still. But looking at the measurable shift in the mindsets of the children and their families, I believe I am on the right track.


I disagree with this theory which also appears practical in the developing countries as you stated. Education is not the ultimate solution to gain prosperity and wealth. There are other means to gain wealth in developing countries, however, you can state that education is the ultimate solution to fight illiteracy whereby, this will help the citizens plan for their future, and how many kids they get. Also, we have socialist countries that are developing countries like Tanzania with Ujamaa, education is free. Both the poor and the rich have access to proper education. Education is there, its just that the infrastructure , the resources are limited others brought by climate change. That is why there is need for review in education policies.

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What an impressive submission! Education is a mechanism for social re-engineering and inclusion.

With this well facilitated, reasonably structured, coordinated, financed and well shaped to solving solution, creating impactful values and realigning to the present, past and the future challenges battling humanity in developing nations with this, education will always remain a veritable tool towards a blissful society. “Together we can”.