THE close relationship between education and economic development is one that has received overwhelming attention especially from high ranking members of the ruling class, labour movement including church leaders in their powerful speeches at various forums.
This stresses the importance which people from all walks of life attach to education especially in the belief that it culminates into economic development, eradication of illiteracy, ignorance and diseases in society.
Education, which is a creation of man and from ancient to modern time, helps society to deal with problems that it faces in several ways.
However, for education to be useful in economic development, it must at all-times reflect the concrete context of facts and the reality in which the people are found. In other words the training which students undergo should be appropriately linked to basic needs.
In fact, education should be geared towards industrial needs that will help the country as a whole and the individuals involved to benefit from economic activities.
Education if well planned can be used as vital tool for economic development for instance the trained human resource in Zambia should ensure that we have improved state of the roads, clean and safe drinking water, proper sewerage network and electrification of all houses in both rural and urban areas. Since education plays an important role in economic development of any country, huge expenditures on education are justified. Educating the masses would ensure that they attain an awareness of their environment, get productive and life skills and later become involved in the development process itself through their participation.
Education helps the student to acquire comparatively broader knowledge, become versatile people .
Once this is done education is bound to bring about self-sufficiency, self-respect and self-reliance in a nation like Zambia. In Zambia the UNIP, MMD and PF governments have all put great emphasis on education for economic development. Education leads to an expansion of economic opportunities that in the long run ensures that the population has a broad economic base.
In fact, with an increase in economic opportunities, there is likely to be a large surplus of goods produced for local self-sufficiency and exports purposes. With increased exports it means more foreign exchange for the country and this ultimately creates economic development.
Apart from that, education empowers people to earn a living individually and by contributing to the communities involved in connection with highly trained man power.
Further, Education and economic development are closely related, Education enables one to be able to read and write and understand information about the things of everyday use. for instance, modern financial institutions are far more complex that without literacy it becomes difficult to conclude transactions such as those that involve the signing of contracts, cheques loans etc. but with education one can easily understand the afore mentioned issues and hence lead to economic development.
It is important for the government and all stake holders to continue on the path to economic development. More financial resources should be pumped into the education sector by individual, organisations and the state.
The author is a Luanshya -based historian.
How education spurs economic development