Breaking The Cycle Of Poverty: Unleashing The Potential Of Higher Education Institutions - Eastern Mirror
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Breaking the cycle of poverty: Unleashing the potential of higher education institutions

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By EMN Updated: Oct 17, 2023 11:18 pm
Juby Thomas

DIMAPUR — International days and weeks serve as crucial platforms for raising public awareness, garnering public support, and mobilising resources to address global concerns. They also offer opportunities for us to celebrate and reinforce the remarkable achievements of humanity.

When the ‘International Day for the Eradication of Poverty‘ is observed every 17th of October, it is vital for us to reflect on our roles as catalysts for change in the fight against poverty.

In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, India is positioned at 111th place among the 125 countries with sufficient data for calculating GHI scores. As per the 2021 statistics, the situation in Northeast India is also drawing our attention towards addressing poverty-related issues in the region.

NITI Aayog’s Multidimensional Poverty Index reveals that Assam and Meghalaya lead with 32.7%, followed by Nagaland (25.2%) in regional poverty rates.

At this juncture, higher education institutions — the great equaliser — play an indispensable role in uplifting the most marginalised sections of society, whether in rural or urban areas. While education and poverty are undeniably interconnected, we often tend to view education as merely boosting individual and family incomes.

However, higher education institutions possess tremendous potential to break the cycle of poverty in numerous ways. As we commemorate this International Day for the eradication of poverty, let us delve into the transformative power of educational institutions in our region.

In every country, higher education institutions are hotbeds of innovation and research. They produce groundbreaking discoveries and solutions to complex problems, generating jobs, stimulating economic growth, and fostering opportunities for entrepreneurship. Do higher education institutions in our region effectively identify, address, and emphasise regional concerns through efficient research?

Entrepreneurship is thriving in India’s small towns and cities. Nagaland, with an 80.11% literacy rate and an English-speaking population, holds significant entrepreneurial potential. Through experiential learning, mentorship programs, and collaborative partnerships at schools and colleges, this can be achieved at a faster pace.

While universities and colleges engage with local communities, offering resources and support to underserved areas, these efforts are often seen as outreach programs that take place once or twice a year. To enhance the impact, experts suggest that community service should be integrated into the curriculum, making it a fundamental part of higher education and fostering long-term community involvement. The higher education institutions in the region need to encourage students and faculty to engage in community service, volunteer work, and social impact projects that can directly address local poverty-related challenges and contribute to long-term community development in the region.

On this occasion of the ‘International Day for the Eradication of Poverty,’ let us recognise the decisive role of higher education institutions in breaking the cycle of poverty. Skill enhancement training, organising campaigns, and designing adult literacy plans for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain the skills and knowledge needed to escape poverty are some of the other initiatives. The power of education to transform lives and uplift communities cannot be overstated. It’s not just a source of personal and family income growth; it’s a force for positive change that reaches far beyond the individual, shaping a brighter and more equitable future for all.

Juby Thomas is an Indian social scientist, author, and academician, currently working as a professor at the Department of Media Studies, Kristu Jayanti College, Bengaluru. She can be contacted at: www.drjubythomas.in.

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By EMN Updated: Oct 17, 2023 11:18:11 pm
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