Why Education

Why does the BBEF focus solely on education as a way of encouraging development and alleviating poverty?


Too many children both in the Philippines and around the world face a life of vulnerability and lack of opportunity because they have little or no way of obtaining an education:

  • Over 100 million children have no access to education

  • One in 3 children in developing countries do not complete 5 years of primary education.

  • One in 4 adults in the developing world are illiterate1

  • Girls make up two thirds of the world’s children denied a basic education.

BBEF believes that prioritising education is the most sustainable way to guard against vulnerability and create a future filled with hope.

Poverty is much more complex than simply income deprivation. Poverty entails lack of knowledge, lack of choice and lack of opportunity.

Education provides people with knowledge and skills empowering them to take advantage of new opportunities and have the freedom to make choices about their future. Children that have the advantage of education are likely to gain employment leading to an improved standard of living.

Empirical evidence from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) 2000, and Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS) 1998 confirms there is a strong relationship between education attainment and poverty. The poverty gap is shown to decrease with increased levels of schooling, implying that more education leads to greater opportunity for increased levels of income.2 For example, in the Philippines:

  • More than half of families whose head has no education are poor.

  • Whereas, the poverty incidence among college graduates is just 1.6%.3

Education levels are also closely correlated with the health status of the population.4

Although public education in the Philippines is free, the country is still challenged by declining participation rates with the most commonly cited reason for not attending being the associated costs.5 Despite a family’s best efforts, the poorest cannot afford even a basic education due to the costs of uniforms, supplies and transportation, not to mention the opportunity costs of forgone income. It is these costs which our program aims to provide assistance.


1 UNESCO Institute of Statistics: State of the World’s Mothers Report 2003.
2 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) 2000, and Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS) 1998.
3 Poverty in the Philippines: Income, Assets and Access, Asian Development Bank 2005.
4 National Demographic and Health Survey, Philippines 2003.
5 Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS) 1998.