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The World Spins Madly On: Money shouldn't be 'gateway' to education

Cha-ching.  

As we come back from a long break, many of us have holiday cash bouncing around in our pockets.  Money can’t buy happiness, but the way that the distribution of wealth functions nowadays requires money for opportunity — and opportunity can produce happiness. One of these opportunities many of us have a habit of taking for granted is an education.

As we begin a new quarter, the majority of us dread the long winter ahead.  Ten weeks of school can easily fly by, until brutal weather is added to the mix.  With potential snowstorms, harsh winds, and the rarity of seeing sunlight, students lose motivation to get up in the morning and attend class.  

However, knowing that being able to attend school is a privilege  — a privilege that many others don’t have and one that can better our futures — rather than a punishment can help us to appreciate our education rather than dread the long hours ahead.

Over 121 million children worldwide cannot afford an education.  Over half of the world’s children are in poverty. Nearly a billion people in the world entered the 21st century unable to read or write.  

Unfortunately, education systems around the world are geared toward families with higher income, and the majority of people live by this equation: education = job = money.  

Even more sadly, this is in fact a reliable formula.  In order to have a stable job, education is generally required.  Without education, thousands are left unemployed and without hope.  And without a reliable job, there’s no source of supporting income. 

Due to the insane wealth gap in developing countries, many children born in to poor families will never have the chance to have an education or work toward closing the infamous gap.  

Consequently, they will never have the opportunity to gain the respect and equal opportunity that they truly deserve.  

Over 1.4 billion people live with less-than one U.S. dollar a day, and over 2.5 billion live under the equivalence of two U.S. dollars a day.  When an individual has such a low amount of money to survive from, education is out of the question.  There are other priorities such as food, electricity, water and sanitation. These people have no finances for health care, and many of them are forced to work several occupations.

The three richest people in the world make more than the lowest 10 percent of all the world’s people combined.  

As college students, it’s our hope that after graduation we will all land among steady paying jobs and be happily employed. 

Unfortunately, a large portion of the world’s population is uneducated, unemployed and very underprivileged in comparison to American standards.  In fact, minimum wage in America would seem like a small fortune to many residents of third world countries.  As Americans, we think a minimum wage job doesn’t give us much, but the average income from the bottom percent in the United States is higher than two-thirds of the global population.  However, many people in our own country suffer financially due to the unequal wealth distribution.    

Money shouldn’t be the gateway to earning an education.  All children deserve the chance to learn, yet understandably this isn’t realistic.  In a perfect world, everyone would have the right to attend school, regardless of economic background.  

The inequality of wealth is an ongoing problem, which cannot be easily dealt with or solved.  As students we can only do our part by not taking for granted scooping grub in the dining hall or the seemingly tedious in-class requirements we complete.

Thankfully, there is something we can do to help beyond appreciation.  As a fairly privileged campus, we have the ability to reach out to those in our own community, as well as those in unfamiliar places through multiple charity-focused organizations and clubs.  

Although money can’t buy happiness, it can buy an education and the opportunity for others to learn and grow in the same way that we do every day here at Ohio University.  

Olivia Harlow is a sophomore studying journalism and photojournalism and a columnist for The Post. If you’re trying to break away from the equation, email her at oh258409@ohiou.edu.

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