The basic premise of the paper is secondary and higher education do contribute to development; they have poverty-alleviating effect as well. The paper reviews the available research evidence to show that much of the research on the role of secondary and higher education concentrated on its effect on economic growth and ignored its relation to poverty reduction and with human development indicators, which led many policy makers to argue that secondary and more specifically higher education do not reduce poverty; and it is only literacy and primary education that are related to poverty and human development. However, the limited research evidence shows that secondary and higher education contributes not only to economic growth, but also to reduction in poverty and improvement in human development indicators.
Using most recent international statistics on poverty and development indictors, it is attempted to further show with simple regression equations that the general presumption on the weak or negligible role of secondary and higher education in development is not valid and that post elementary education is important for reduction in poverty, in improving infant mortality and life expectancy, and for economic growth. Accordingly, it also pleads for sound and comprehensive education policies that recognise the importance of not just elementary education, but also of secondary and higher education and for integration of educational planning with development planning.
Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, 87 pp.