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Psychology Review

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2010

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal


The Concepts of Well being, Education and Economic Growth

The article defines the main concepts used in the project - well being (and deprivation as its opposite), security and their relationships with education and economy. Security is regarded as the key aspect of well being.

Keywords: well being, deprivation, security, education, economy

Column: Education, Well being and Emergent Economies of Brazil, Russia and South Africa

A Part of Article

Well being. UNISEF relies on the normative framework for the understanding of children's well being offered by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Its four general principles:

  • non-discrimination (art. 2),
  • best interest of the child (art. 3),
  • survival and development (art. 6),
  • respect for the views of the child (art. 12).

Though the rights outlined in the Convention are universal for all the children, particular social, economic and cultural rights have to be seen against the background of the specific economic situation of a country. Children's right to an 'adequate standard of living' (art. 27) or the 'highest attainable standard of health' (art. 24) for example point on the one hand to an absolute, global standard (survival and development), but on the other hand also have to be seen as standards relative to the wealth of a given society.

Child well being and deprivation represent different sides of the same coin. From a child rights perspective well being can be defined as the realisation of children's rights and the fulfillment of the opportunity for every child to be all she or he can be in the light of a child's abilities, potential and skills, and as a result of the effective protection and assistance provided by families, community, society and state. Child outcomes are however not static; in each particular case they are conditioned by interplay of risk and protective factors (Antonovsky, 1987).

One of the crucial aspects of subjective well being is security. Human security brings a human rights perspective to the security of individuals and communities (Kermani, 2006). Human security may also be understood in terms of risk reduction in that it may be achieved through the removal of insecurity or the reduction of vulnerabilities (Jorge, 1999). Beck (1992, 1995, 1999) outlines a shift in political and social values from a positive logic based on the acquisition of 'goods' to a negative logic predicated upon avoidance of 'bads' (Beck 1992, 45). This understanding has important implications for notions of safety and security.

Ogata and Sen (2003) argued that human security is concerned with 'downside risks' that 'threaten human survival' Kaldor et al (2007: 279) have similarly suggested it comes 'at the crisis end' of human development. Importantly, the notion involves a focus on subjective security, what makes people feel secure, as opposed to developing objective indices of income security or the prevalence of violent attacks (Glasius, 2008).

Theoretical overview provided the outline of relationships between economic growth, education, well being and security. The project implies critical analysis of these ideas in different cultural contexts.

Economic Growth and Education

  • There are strong causal links between school achievement and economic growth.
  • Need for a much broader understanding of the impact of education than indicators based on examination data.
  • Improving the quality of schools will take structural changes in institutions rather than simply adding resource.
  • Need to understand the future of education as a promoter of economic growth in far broader terms than achievement on narrowly defined measures.
  • The type of labour market and its relationship to education that is crucial to understanding the distribution of skill and income in an economy.

«In good part modern education is not mainly about training people for extant jobs. [It] is about training people for a progressive and expansionist future — for activities that may not exist, or may be transformed in great new ways….education, unlike apprenticeship, is about progress» (Meyer, 2005).

The Economy, Education and Well being

Some studies find a positive relationship between each additional level of education and life satisfaction while others find that middle level education
is related to the highest satisfaction.

The effects of education on well being themselves can be collective as well as individual in that education has a direct effect on well being, by helping people develop capabilities and resources which influence their well being; it has an indirect effect, leading to outcomes that in turn allow people to thrive and increase their resilience in the face of risk; and it can have a cumulative effect, by influencing the social and economic environment in which people spend their lives.

Security as a key aspect of well being

  • There is a need to study objective and subjective dimensions of human security from a multiplicity of perspectives.
  • Trust is a key factor in the building of human security — trust in schools and communities is a way of responding to fear of violence and abuse.
  • Feeling safe in school can help children develop coping strategies that will help to ameliorate the effects of violence exposure.
  • Feelings of insecurity can exacerbate the more direct consequences of poverty through the development of deviant behaviours which raise the insecurities of others.
  • The greatest obstacle to poverty reduction remains inequality within states and that the spill over effects of extreme inequality in a globalised world, such as violence, criminality and regional insecurity, pose serious risks for developed countries.
  • These are settings in which poor people are especially differentiated from richer people with respect to a sense of security because they face greater uncertainty and discount the future to a greater extent.

For Reference


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