Education, an Investment not an Expense
Awareness-building Campaign on First Nations Education
Economists have published many studies that have repeatedly shown that education should be considered as an investment and not an expense.
Education has a significant impact on the socioeconomic wellbeing of individuals and communities.
SIf all First Nations members could have access to a quality education and graduate from the education system with honours, they would have chances to find employment (or create it) and thus to rapidly increase their income, their living standards and their quality of life. Access to income that employment brings would make it possible to greatly reduce the number of those receiving benefits.
The effects of education are felt in many other areas
- Health: better educated people enjoy better health, not only because they have the means to pay for quality products, but also because they are able to have access to and understand health information.
- Justice: the following reflection is a good illustration of the value of an education: “When we open a school, we close a prison” (Victor Hugo). And it is well known that the Devil makes work for idle hands…
« Ouvrez une école, vous fermerez une prison » (Victor Hugo). Il est bien connu que le diable trouve toujours de l’ouvrage aux désœuvrés…
- The socioeconomic context: educated citizens are active in the work market and earn income independently, without depending on welfare. They contribute to the economy by acquiring products and services and therefore contribute to the redistribution of wealth in their communities. They also take part in cultural and democratic life and play a role in social and economic development. Quebec’s Quiet Revolution of the 1960s is the perfect example of how far education can change society. It is also important to remember that the socioeconomic success of educated members of society represents a inspirational model for youth.
The beneficial effects of an education are passed down from generation to generation.
Educated people pass their values on to their children, including the desire for education. It has been shown that children born to better educated mothers have more chances of growing up healthy and staying in school longer.
Inertia is as harmful to other Canadians as it is to First Nation
In a report published in 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples warned the Canadian government of the enormous cost that its inertia could mean. There would be low productivity because of a low level of First Nations participation in the work market, as well as a rapid increase in costs due to a high level of dependency on welfare programs. The Commission recommended, therefore, that the government fund change. Ten years later, the results speak for themselves …
First Nations stand to gain individually and collectively if Canada accepts to invest in their educational success. Canadian taxpayers would also gain, as there would be fewer people on benefits to support, fewer health problems, less criminalization and, at the same time, more qualified workers for the prosperity of First Nations communities and Canada as a whole. It is well known that, unlike other communities in Canada, First Nations have communities that have a young and dynamic demographic.