This thesis examines the geographically diverse conditions of cross-generational poverty and the role of education in preventing its perpetuation using data from selected countries in South East Asia and Central America. The objective is to demonstrate the need for community based educational strategies that adjust to the unique circumstances of poverty by collaborating with other developmental factors. Statistics show that countries with high percentages literacy generally have lower poverty, while countries with low percentages of literacy generally have higher rates of poverty. At the same time, literacy and poverty figures for five countries from each region appear to indicate that the poor in Central America not benefit from education as much as their South East Asian counterparts.1 The aim of this paper is to determine why. For comparison purposes I will examine the similarities and differences between Thailand and Costa Rica, having the highest percentages of literacy, and Cambodia and Guatemala which have similar ratings at the lower end.
This thesis will define poverty as a repeating cycle that continues across generations. I will argue that circumstances vary by locality and that being poor is more than a lack of income. How is poverty in Cambodia unlike poverty in Guatemala? Education will be identified as "a process of working on human beings in order to bring about desirable changes in the way they think, feel and act." 2 I will explain this process and its relation to acquiring life skills and accumulating human capital showing that education is a primary factor in terminating the cycle of poverty. What makes Costa Rica the most successful country in Central America at dealing with poverty and how does it compare with Thailand's success? Finally, I will point to the adverse affects that poverty has on education and discuss a variety of unfavorable influences that inhibit learning and prevent upward social mobility. This thesis recommends that these issues be addressed at the community level and concludes that community based educational strategies are necessary to address context specific problems and to effectively aid in the reduction of poverty.
1 Country Profiles, CIA---The World Factbook , 2006, 01 September 2006 < https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index-html > 2 UNESCO, Basic Education for Empowerment of the Poor, (Bangkok: UNESCO, 1998) 4.
|School Location:||United States -- Missouri|
|Source:||MAI 45/04M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational sociology, Social work, International law, International relations, Welfare, Social structure|
|Keywords:||Cambodia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Thailand|
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