Poverty is defined as the lack of basic human needs because of the inability to afford them, i.e., clean water, health care, education, nutrition, shelter and clothing. It is also called absolute poverty. However, relative poverty is a condition in which people have less income or fewer resources than others within a country or society, or compared to worldwide averages.
Pakistan is a developing country and thus dealing with poverty in Pakistan is a growing concern. During the fiscal year of 07-2008, it was estimated that 17.2% of the total population lives below the poverty line, which is the lowest figure in the history of Pakistan. The poverty level in Pakistan is increasing day by day and more than 40 % people in the country are living their lives below the poverty line. Historically, Poverty in Pakistan has been higher in rural areas and lower in the urban areas.
Poverty is a major block in the way of achieving economic development. Poverty can only be brought down through a holistic approach, such as, by creating opportunities for employment and income generation, providing access to basic social services, food and financial resources, improving governance, educating the vulnerable segments of the society. Education is considered as the primary and most important weapon against prevalence of poverty. Hence, it is important to seek out the effect of different levels of education upon poverty in Pakistan.
Various studies show that education does have positive impact on poverty reduction. Nasir and Nazli (2000) identified that education can increase the earning potentials of the poor and they become more productive. Similarly, Qureshi and Arif (2005) found a negative relationship between educational achievements and poverty at the national level. The studies also show that poverty is higher in rural areas and lower in urban areas (Niazi, et al. 2013) because of low level of education in rural areas of Pakistan.
It becomes clear that poverty reduction and education enhancing strategies must be adopted for the well being and progress of the country. For this purpose, equal access to education by all people plays a very important role in the alleviation of poverty. In this respect, different measures like free primary education and other such facilities may be very helpful to improve the literacy rate (Niazi, et al. 2013). In addition to it, technical and vocational education and training can also be very fruitful in the reduction of poverty in Pakistan.
Babar Bashir: ISCS Punjab University Lahore