Education is the acquiring or the imparting of knowledge through learning and teaching. Education can be formal or informal; formal education is the most common which is done in a classroom setup in schools and institutions. Informal education is the oldest form where knowledge was passed from one generation to another. Education is more so of a human basic need especially in the 21st century where everything has completely changed. It is a key component for a country’s development. Education is not only the responsibility of the parents of individuals but also of the government and the state which should ensure that its people get education with a changing magnitude in accordance to its resources. The community is also obliged to know and understand its role in education development (Rahman & Uddin, 2004).
The vitality of education has exposed it to many challenges and even enemies. Therefore, there are several factors that affect education and they either cause positive or negative impacts on education. These factors range from social economic factors, culture, ethnicity, gender, race among others. This paper will discuss the factors that affect education and the importance of diversity in education.
Economical factors affect education in various ways. Education is affected by lack of money to finance the education programs or by poverty leading to children to drop out and work to support their families. In developing countries, most children have been known to sacrifice their education to become skilled workers and earn a living for their younger siblings.
Education needs money to be actualized, before the introduction of the free education system for the lower grades education was centered on money availability. In the developing countries many people have missed out opportunities for study due to lack of money which in turn have been taken by unqualified people who can afford the money. Those who are lucky enough to secure the chances have survived on financial limitations which means their parents could not afford to buy them supplemental educational materials.
Economic factors have a significant impact on the children education. A study carried out in Pakistan showed that many children drop out from school due to poverty. Children are forced to leave school at the early grades to become skilled workers. Most of the parents whose children drop out of school are attendants, helpers, shopkeepers and laborers signifying just enough or deficit. The children therefore, can not tolerate staying in class on empty stomach. This automatically makes the option of being a laborer better for they will eat and earn something for the rest of the family.
Gender and sex orientation
The gender notion of the passive, cooperative female and, active competitive male has governed the world. The lack of understanding that women are a sub group like men who are well endowed with abilities in different areas has over the year affected the opportunities offered to women. The orientation of women as weak and incapable in most areas of education has stigmatized them for concrete choices in their lives.
Women and girls discrimination has been as pervading in many schools especially in America as discrimination based on race. Despite many schools being coeducational in this era, many teachers have firmly suggested to girls that a woman’s place is at home rather than secondary schools and been professionals as a result limiting women to their so called career the school teaching fraternity (Vin, 2006).
This gender and sexual orientation among the communities have contributed negatively to the education of both girls and boys. The girls have been many a times denied chances to gain education leaving them economically disarmed. While boys have been forced in to choices they feel too big for them by the virtue of being boys. Instead of allowing them to take choices they are more comfortable with and their hearts willing to pursue.
With the expansion of the American school system, huge numbers of women were encouraged to participate in high education to gain credentials due to demand for elementary and secondary schoolteachers. Despite the encouragement their social expectations still remained to be domestic roles and the male discrimination against women prevailed closing career doors for well-educated women. This has not changed in some parts of the world though women have education credentials they are still being segregated in working fields for example the engineering sector (Huang, 1998).
Racial segregation was dominant in the United States. It was not only in the education sector but in all sectors. Racial segregation in private and public is still common in most parts of the world though it has reduced. In areas where racial segregation is still dominant, school boards put up laws to ensure racial separation. In this areas expenditure for whites’ schools are more than those of blacks’ schools or the minorities’ schools. The white teachers receive a higher pay compared to the rest and facilities were superior in the white schools. This works on discouraging women from the minority races from attaining credentials for they do not receive what they are worth (DuPree, 2004).
The minority groups suffer a great deal for they are denied opportunities to the best education institutions even if they had the qualifications. This also affects competition for they are denied opportunities with the best of the other races to exercise and proof their abilities. Poor facilities in comparison with what the majority are receiving affect the quality of education acquired by the minority groups. The learning environment dictates a lot about the achievement hence when the environment is interfered with education is also interfered with.
Culture and ethnicity
Ethnicity refers to groups whose members share a cultural heritage from one generation to another. Education is so much dependent on the learning styles which cut across cultural lines. Family structures are a vital basis for student’s failure and success. Single parents have very little time to spend with their children as they complete their school work that is there is no assistance offered to the child by the parents. Where the child has the full support of both parents, he is able to at least get assistance from one (DuPree, 2004).
Undereducated parents do not have the full view of the importance of education for they have not experienced it. Well educated parents will so much support their children going to extents of employing tutors to support them. Other cultures do not support girl child education hence the girls in these cultures will remain uneducated and objects of marriage.
Cultural bias has made the adults expectations vary with respect to girls and boys especially in technical areas. In case of problems girls are assigned the easy clues, this in turn has helped the girls undermine confidence in their abilities.
Though, the affirmative action and emphasizes on the girl child education has improved the education opportunities for girls and women, the teaching styles applied perpetuates gender differences. A study done by the American Association of University Women revealed that the teachers tend to focus more attention on boys, overlook girls and direct more encouragements to the boys in class (Huang, 1998).
Importance of diversity in education
Diversity in education helps in the development of a democratic citizenship. The students are vital instruments of change that can bring a democratic citizenship in the world. They will be able to learn about each others cultures and abilities which will help them complement each other for greater achievements. When students from different races and cultures are helped to directly foster the benefits of education, this is enough to cultivate educational diversity. In return it would help an equal growth of the communities of the world for some nations lag behind due to lack of education and skills and others due to brain drain (Gurin, 2003).
Education is a vital tool in the development of any given nation and hence has many threats. The factors that affect education are varied and can be dealt with in different ways either to improve or completely solve them. Taking the example of racism with the current changes in the super power continent’s governance a lot is expected to change.
The election of Barrack Obama to the presidency is an event which shows the consequences of breaking the color barrier which will be in memory for many years. This may dictate involuntarily the deep entrenchment of social, economical, and political forces that shape the education opportunities for the minorities including the African-American. Though overcoming racism may not be that easy, spectacular changes can be made (Eduwonkette, 2008).
DuPree, A.Y. (2004). The Effects of Ethnicity in Learning. South Alabama. Web.
Eduwonkette, (2008). Obama Wins! Have We Overcome the Scourge of Race? Editorial Projects in Education. Web.
Gurin, P. (2003). The Benefits of Diversity in Education for Democratic Citizenship, Journal of Social Issues. Web.
Huang. (1998). Gender Inequalities in Education. Stanford. Web.
Rahman, A. & Uddin, S. (2004). Statistical analysis of the different socio-economic factors affecting the education. Jaqm. Web.
Vin, B. (2006). Effects of Gender on Education. eCheat.com. Web.