This chapter presented a unique view and an analysis to schooling in poor countries. The article that I read in the Economist touched on the similar problems of schooling in South Africa. What I found interesting in the article I read was the almost “incentive” process that the school system provided. Albert Dove, an extremely poor student attending a public school in South Africa was given free food daily to attend school. This is not too different than the PROGRESA program that Poor Economics talks about. The PROGRESA program provides cash rewards to families for school attendance. What I find interesting is the idea of a reward system. After reading both the book and the article, it makes sense. While most parents want to give their kids an education, many times, keeping their kids home to work is a better economic decision. The data behind both programs was successful. In both cases, the individual or individuals had a higher school attendance and completion rate because of the programs. What I am not understanding, and Poor Economics does a wonderful job touching on this, is the idea that its not that parents need to be forced to send their kids to school, its the underlying fact that they need help financially.
I understand that I only picked one topic in a pretty expansive chapter but in this chapter this is what really interests me. It is the idea that the amount of education a child receives is based on how financially stable the family is. It almost seems that its another poverty trap. Without education there is minimal chance of a child “moving up” but without the backing of a financially stable family it is unlikely that a child will attend school, and more importantly learn, where he/she can advance themselves. While the book offers some ideas that have worked, I don’t think that there is a universal answer how to best solve the education problem.