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Conceptual Issues Relating To Poverty and Education

The study of poverty and education is difficult not only because of the circular nature of the relationship. It is complex because poverty has many dimensions that are affected by education. Poverty signifies lack of income, and deprivation in terms of political and civil rights, voice, freedom of choice, and the quality of life based on health and education. While education is a goal in itself, it can be instrumental to poverty alleviation working not only through income but through its influence on other dimensions of poverty.
There are two approaches - the human capital approach and the human development approach that both emphasize the role of education in human welfare (Tilak, J. B. G. 2001). The human capital approach (Schultz 1961; Becker 1964; Mincer 1972) focuses on the instrumental aspect of education while the human development approach takes a broader view of human welfare and relates education to different dimensions of poverty (UNDP, Sen, 1993). These two views are in no way contradictory since the human capital approach enables one see how education can be used to expand people´s choice through higher productivity and income.