Education and Poverty – Assessments of Beneficiaries of Social Aid for Guaranteed Minimum Income
Poverty in Romania is a significant problem, in search of adequate efficient solutions. Many scholars point to education as perhaps the most important means to achieve the objective of poverty alleviation. The available literature reflects on the multidimensional disadvantage that poor children face in their families and communities, both in terms of availability and quality of educational services offered to them and in terms of the cumulative factors that determine the manner in which they are able to pertain to existing opportunities. Research brings to the forefront the importance of attitudes and values, as behavioural determinants that should be studied in order to understand the strategies employed in tackling poverty. In this paper we focus on the manner in which poor Romanian families conceptualise education, its effects on their quality of life, on poverty reduction and personal development, assuming that the manner in which people perceive the role of education and the quality of the educational services available to them will determine their investment in terms of time, personal effort and financial resources. Beneficiaries of social assistance for poverty alleviation (guaranteed minimum income) were surveyed in October 2016, using a nationally representative sample (600 respondents). Results show that, while the respondents acknowledge education as an important means to achieve a better life, with improved employment and social opportunities, thus adhering to mainstream values, most of them face significant difficulties in offering their children the minimum necessary conditions for learning and a decent living.
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