Poverty And Education: The 5 Effects Of Poverty On Education

A pendulum swing is a device that explains the theories of Earth’s gravity and motion. When you lift and release the first weighted ball and hit the other balls, the last ball on the pendulum will swing upward and fall freely, passing the force back to the first ball without extra help, causing it to sway again. This swinging motion could go for minutes. It is similar to the relationship between poverty and education.

The lack of proper education in children results in poverty. On the other hand, the effects of poverty dramatically impact the quality of the education system and the students it produces.

This article will discuss how poverty affects the education system and the students.

The 5 Effects Of Poverty On Education

It is not a secret that many problems today, from poor health care, and unemployment to increasing criminality, stem from poverty. And the connection between poverty and education is undeniable.

But what makes poverty and education relationship bittersweet is it affects the most vulnerable group in a community–children, who happen to be the future leaders and workers of the country. Children living below the Singapore poverty line experience theeffects of povertyon education the most.

Here’s how poverty impacts the education of children:

1. An increasing number of out of school youth

According to Article 26 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to education. Education is a tool that moulds children into physically, mentally, financially and socially capable human beings.

But due to poverty, education has become a privilege more than a right. Not all children have access to academic institutions, and not all parents and guardians afford quality education for their children.

Education can be expensive. Parents have to shoulder the staggering tuition fees of private academic institutions. State schools and universities provide free education to accommodate families who can’t afford private scholarly institutions. However, it is not enough to reduce the number of out of school youth.

Families living below the Singapore poverty line may not still afford to provide transport allowance, food allowance, and purchase school supplies and equipment needed to continue education.

In the end, many children still drop out of school or choose not to enrol at the start of term.

But fortunately, manyvolunteer opportunities in Singaporeand organisations help bridge this gap through education sponsorships and scholarship grants to provide financial assistance to students. Some offer part-time jobs to older students to help them provide for themselves during the semester.

2. Stunted physical and cognitive development

For students to absorb everything they learn in school, they must be physically healthy. And the key to a healthy child is a nutritious diet.

One of the effects of poverty is malnutrition. Children do not have access to healthy and nutritious food that could aid their physical and cognitive development. But how does malnutrition affect the education of children?

Malnutrition delays the cognitive development of children. It drastically diminishes a child’s reasoning skills, memory, and problem-solving skills. Children with impaired cognitive development may also be slower in understanding lessons and language than healthier children. Hence, they don’t maximise their potential as great students.

Moreover, malnutrition also affects physical growth. Stunted children are usually shorter and lighter than healthier children. They are prone to sickness and diseases, causing them to be absent from school more frequently than the others.

Besides poverty,food security in Singapore is a key player in providing vulnerable people access to an affordable and healthy variety of foods.

3. Increase in child labour

Children with a fiery desire to get an education are sometimes forced to participate in child labour to support themselves when their parents and guardians can’t.

They are on the streets selling goods and other services, helping their parents in labour work, and sometimes doing illicit activities to earn money.

This financial pressure divides the time and attention of children between studying and earning money. Some of the job pay doesn’t even make ends meet.

Moreover, the streets and hazardous workplaces are threats to the safety of the children.

Individuals and organisations grab volunteer opportunities in Singapore to provide free education and a safe learning hub for these children in order to reduce child labour.

4. Lack of quality educational facilities and equipment


The effects of poverty impact the quality of education as well. Schools in impoverished communities often get the least amount of support. They lack primary equipment, such as classrooms, desks, chairs, books, handouts, and teaching supplies for teachers.

In the end, the teachers have to find clever ways to teach students with the meagre resources they have despite inevitably compromising the quality of teaching.

Under-resourced schools often get behind other schools because the resources cannot keep up with the growing number of students.

It is a challenge to provide equal opportunities to academic institutions in well-off cities and schools and universities in communities under the Singapore poverty line.

5. Lack of qualified teachers and instructors

The meagre support for schools and its limited resources in underprivileged communities’ pales to the staggering salary offers of private schools to the teachers.

Highly qualified and skilled teachers are not at fault for choosing a better offer. However, it also leaves disadvantaged schools with a lack of excellent teachers.

Teachers in understaffed schools often handle more students than average, hence, unable to provide equal attention to each class. Overwork and stress compromise the quality of teaching, fortifying theeffects of povertyon education.

These situations force teachers to accept better offers at more well-off schools.


To combat poverty is to improve education. And to improve education is to lessen poverty. Poverty and education are connected like both end weighted balls of the pendulum. The flaws of the other are felt by the other end.

The challenge for the government, non-government organisations, and private citizens is how to break the cycle of poverty through education. All parties must go hand in hand to reduce the effects of povertyand uplift access to better education quality.

The Best of You


The Best Of You provides volunteer opportunities for people to help reduce the effects of poverty, improve access to education, and ensure food security in Singapore. Visit The Best Of You today.