How Important is Education for Children?

Education brings many benefits, for the individual, and for society as a whole. It improves career prospects, boosts the economy and even extends our lifespans. And, believe it or not, education actually makes us happier!

Symbols of education - mortarboard, textbooks and diplomaEducation – it’s a right of every child in the UK. But many of them don’t understand why it’s so important. A lot of parents will have heard their child say, ‘But why do I have to?’ when faced with some ‘boring’ task, like having to memorise their times tables! So, how do we answer them?

Education brings with it many benefits – for those being educated, and for society as a whole. In this guide we’ll take you through some of the main reasons why education is so important for children and, hopefully, equip you to answer your child’s complaints!

Does education improve career prospects?

It might seem obvious to you but many children just don’t realise their education will affect their earnings in later life. It’s a fact that careers with better salaries require more qualifications – doctors, solicitors, airline pilots, architects – the list goes on. Without an education, jobs like these are beyond the reach of would be applicants.

A Government study, published in 2013, looked at those who had completed studies in further education. It found that:

  • One third got a better job as a result of their qualification
  • Their earnings rose by an average of 2.75%
  • 58% said they were more satisfied with their job
  • 80% felt that their happiness and self-esteem had improved

Clearly, the better your education, the better your career prospects.

Does education improve our health?

This one may not be so obvious but education actually improves health and increases life expectancy. Studies have shown that, in general, the higher someone’s level of education, the longer their lives. But why is this? Well there are several reasons:

  • Higher education brings higher earnings and better lifestyles. Low earners have riskier jobs (window cleaning, or building site labouring for example), less leisure time and less money for healthy resources (like gym membership or healthy foods)
  • A lack of education usually means a lower paid job. This results in less financial security and so, a more stressful lifestyle
  • Those with higher levels of education are more aware of health issues and so make healthier choices
  • Less well educated people tend to live in ‘unhealthy’ areas with higher crime rates. This means that issues such as drug abuse or violent crime are more of a risk

Does education make people more ethical?

Education brings with it understanding. Without it, anything ‘alien’ can seem odd or even be perceived as something to be feared. How, for example, can we understand Russians, French or Chinese motivations if we do not understand their history and culture? In the field of international relations, and even cultural relations in our personal lives, education builds bridges rather than walls. It also makes us more aware of environmental crises in other parts of the world and how our actions can help or hinder the lives of those we share the planet with.

Does education help the economy?

In this technological age, new industries are springing up all the time. This creates new types of jobs which require educated workers. This is nothing new – as society has progressed, the jobs market has changed. Virtually every job now needs workers who can read but 100 years ago that wasn’t the case. Statistics prove that nations with higher levels of education have faster growing economies, both now and in the past. While this might not seem like a personal benefit of education, a healthy economy is better for all citizens. Better public services and lower levels of unemployment are both connected to education.

Does education bring progress?

Think how much the world has changed over the last 100 years or so. The fact is that most of the things we take for granted today, like mobile phones, aeroplanes, space exploration, antibiotics and vaccinations (to name but a few) came about as a result of education. The more we understand, then the more we can apply our knowledge. Again, this is not a personal benefit to the one being educated, but it is undeniable that society as a whole has progressed because of education.

Does education bring self-discipline?

To get a degree requires a good deal of effort. It comes after 16 years of study, during which the work becomes progressively harder. To complete it, one must have discipline and perseverance. These are both attributes which will come in very useful in life. Things worth having – big homes, nice cars, expensive holidays and the like – don’t just appear. They have to be worked and saved for. If you are self-disciplined and persistent, then you will be more likely to succeed.

Does education help with reasoning?

When it comes to forming our opinions, reasoning is a very valuable tool. After all, we must have a reason to believe something, mustn’t we? Educated people listen to both sides of an argument and consider the evidence before making a decision. It’s easy to make irrational decisions if you don’t know the facts. An extreme example would be ancient farmers making sacrifices to the gods to make sure that spring arrives, not knowing that the Earth revolves around the Sun. While it’s true that education can rid us of harmful superstitions, the same can be said for our political or social outlook. A lack of understanding can be a dangerous thing.

Can education prevent social embarrassment?

Happy and successful educated man

It’s a sad state of affairs, but ignorance can lead to embarrassment. Have you ever found yourself in a social situation and been unable to offer an opinion because you just don’t understand the ins and outs of a topic? The higher your level of education, the more you understand and so, the less likely you are to become embarrassed by your lack of knowledge. This may seem like a petty thing, but the more you know, the more self-confident you are.

Can education make you happy?

As we’ve seen, education brings many benefits, to those being educated and to society as a whole. But perhaps the most important thing an education brings is happiness. Of course, not everyone who is educated is happy but, in general, the higher your level of education, the more content you are.

A good education brings self-esteem, better career prospects, improved health and a better understanding of the world and the people in it. Education in itself will not make you happier, but it will bring many other benefits which, as a whole, improve the way we feel. So, when your child asks why they have to go to school, tell them that the reason is to make them happier in the years to come!

So, now you know the value of education, what other questions do you have? What about the National Curriculum or school league tables? You’ll find all the information you need on these and other topics in our Knowledge Bank. We have dozens of articles which aim to offer useful advice and essential facts about all aspects of schooling and parenting. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to know, but never got round to asking, you may well find the answers you’re looking for.

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