Health and Safety

A Critical Evaluation of Poverty in Educational Attainment

A Case Study


This piece presents how certain factors can prevent or hinder the educational achievement of children in education. Sociologists have identified a number of theories affecting educational attainment in both boys and girls. These ranges from material and cultural differences to class, hereditary and racial factors among others. Poverty, early marriage, long-held negative attitude about girls in education, teenage pregnancy, household labour and many other factors cause African girls to drop out of school before completion. This study evaluates how poverty as a component of Material and cultural factors, affects the educational attainment of a young Ghanaian girl whose ambition was to become a bio-chemist in future. She started well in primary school in Ghana, but had to drop out from high school, since she was not able to cope with the demands of educational materials and the unsupportive attitudes of her parents who think she is rather a drain on the family’s finances. She was forced into marriage and travelled to the UK. Comparatively, her achievements changed drastically when she came to the UK and enrolled in college where she had all the educational recourses needed to learn at her disposal.


Despite the equality of opportunity and access in education for both male and female, levels of educational attainment vary from both sexes due to different factors. Lots of teenage girls in Africa drop out of school before completing high school or college, due to poverty. And the level of achievement or attainment remains very low as compared to their boys’ counterparts. (Adetunde, 2008) Meanwhile the education of female is important to the development of a nation. Dr Kyeggrir Aggrey (1910) a famous African educationist once said that “educating a man is simply educating an individual, while educating a woman is educating a whole nation” Inequality in female...