When people say poverty is a chronic disease, there is no lie in that. Poverty has a very negative effect on the mind and body. It hinders progress in almost all areas of one’s life, especially when it comes to education which is a very powerful tool in fighting poverty, and sadly, a lot of children are in such a disadvantaged position.
Aside from the problem of reading comprehension, some of these brilliant children are put in a disadvantaged situation as they have to continually struggle to keep up with their counterparts from high-income families.
The effect of poverty on education is evident in how poor children barely manage to scrape through school.
Poverty: The Chief Enemy of Education
The negative effects of this on children’s academic performances are so great that frequently, these children have to end up dropping out of school, and by doing that, become liabilities as they lack the needed knowledge to combat poverty.
What are these negative effects? Here are five ways poverty affects the academic performance of children.
Poor Quality Education
The luxury of going to a standard school is non-existent in poor homes. Poor and homeless children are often sent to really cheap schools with little or no qualified staff to teach them. The school curriculum is most likely outdated, and the environment is usually not conducive to good learning.
This limits the child’s cognitive abilities, and while rich families can afford to pay for extra tutorials, it is not the same for these poor children. So, they have to make do with the low-quality education they’re getting, creating a very wide gap between them and their well-to-do counterparts.
Little Verbal Exposure
There’s no denying that some of these poor children often have the chance to attend a good school, in part due to scholarships or sponsorship. The problem, however, is how they cope in such an environment.
Poor children are exposed to just a few meaningful words and sentences, which leads to a huge decrease in their verbal level as they don’t have a vast vocabulary. This impedes their conversational skills and makes it difficult for them to express themselves properly.
Low Competitive Streak
Nothing kills motivation faster than poverty, and we all know that the right motivation often brings out the best in people. However, for these poor kids, there is no motivation to achieve academic success. Unlike rich homes, where their children are rewarded for their excellent performance, there is no motivation from parents or relatives and even society, which shapes the child’s mindset to believe there’s no point trying to achieve more than necessary.
This leads to a deterioration in their studies and less need to thrive for academic excellence, affecting their educational performance.
Physical and Emotional Stress
Poverty comes with a lot of physical and emotional baggage, one of them being stress. Stress limits a lot of things, including the brain and body’s performance. For poor children, this is more profound as they find it hard to pay attention in class or retain information as easily as their rich peers.
Let’s not forget that these poor children also go through emotional trauma from abusive parents, leading to mood swings and a drop in their attentiveness and retention of what’s being taught in class. We all know that lack of attention in class leads to the production of poor academic results.
Dropping Out of School
We need to think of ways to help students living in poverty. Dropping out of school is perhaps the biggest effect of poverty on a child’s academic performance. Although the government has made an effort to ensure education is free, it’s without saying that quality education is not free at all. There is a high chance that even when these poor kids attend these free schools, they will still need funds to buy some basic school necessities like shoes, books, uniforms, food, etc.
Some even trek far distances to school to reduce the financial burden on their parents, but this is often not enough. The expenses may become too much for the parents, especially if they have more than two children in school, and in the long run, these children may have to drop out of school to save costs and support the family by working instead.