Can We Educate Nigerians Out of Poverty? What Data and Experts Say

The more educated a person is, at least up to the tertiary level, the richer he is likely to be, according to statistics recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Experts believe understanding this is key to effectively tackling Nigeria’s enormous poverty problem.

The executive summary of the 2019 Poverty and Inequality report made public on Monday, May 4, dedicates a section that breaks down poverty rates according to the level of education attained by the heads of households.

While among those without education or with less than primary education the poverty rate is 50.4 per cent, the figure reduces gradually depending on the level of education received.

The rate among those with primary education is 34.1 per cent, 19.5 per cent among those with secondary education, and 11.9 per cent among those with post-secondary education.

Can we educate Nigerians out of poverty?

The data also indicates that female family heads are significantly less poor than their male counterparts, sometimes with the latter’s poverty headcount rate being twice as high.

Based on this trend and considering the country’s below-average education levels, it is not surprising that Nigeria has the greatest number of extremely poor people.

With an adult literacy rate of 62 per cent, it has the 26th lowest in the world, according to figures from the World Bank.

The connection between education and poverty is further substantiated with a look at literacy rates of the various states in Nigeria.

Six states among those with the lowest literacy rates, according to NBS , are also among the 10 with the highest poverty rates based on the 2019 report. These states are Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.

The two charts reveal that Nigeria’s northern and southern geopolitical zones are divided both along the lines of poverty and levels of education.


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