Does being educated make a person less prone to criminal activities?

By Mukesh Mirpuri. Mukesh is 33 and is an accountant from Ahmedabad, India. Please leave any comments below.

Education is very important in a person’s life, as it can make a person knowledgeable in the field of his choice. It helps a person grow in a civil society. Education is an investment in the future, as a person’s life is impacted by it, and it has the chance to better a person’s quality of life. As per Darwin’s theory of evolution, the world is a place of “survival of the fittest”. In today’s world, if a person wants to survive ethically then he has to be educated. Education at school can bring discipline into the life of a person; a child may mature into a civilized adult able to contribute to the betterment of the society.

Education has the power to change one’s life. In many of the countries across the globe, the right to education is a fundamental right of each citizen which empowers them to live a good quality life. Children are the future of their nation, and the future growth of the country depends on the quality of its’ population. Education plays an important role in the progress of a nation. The United Nations releases a report on the human development index for all its member nations. One of the key parameters which is considered in determining the human development index of a nation is the education index of that nation. The education index mainly takes into account the mean of years of schooling and expected years of schooling of children in a nation.

In general, many of the crimes that take place are committed by the less educated or the uneducated. The lack of a proper education may make a person unemployable or only employable for low paying jobs. A human body requires two square meals for its physical survival; many people are not able to earn enough to satisfy this very basic need which many a times leads them to perform crimes like theft, looting, or murder. According to a report by US Bureau of Justice, there is an indirect correlation between educational attainment and crimes. It suggested that more than 55% of the inmates in jails didn’t complete high school. Former Governor of West Virginia, US has said that “improving the nation’s high schools and engaging students will not only save the nation’s wealth but will also save student’s futures.” Furthermore, a research study by The CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity at The University of Western Ontario shows that education can not only reduce crime rates but also lead to an improvement in areas like health, political participation, and may lower mortality rates. Whilst in 2015, a report by National Crime Records Bureau of India showed that the crime rate by uneducated children was growing.

However, crimes are not limited to the less educated. The uneducated or less educated have a tendency to perform crimes which are easily identifiable and punishable, like petty theft. Whilst there are arguably more serious criminals who cannot be so easily identified, for instance, bureaucrats in many third world countries are highly educated but still indulge in corruption. Also, people occupying high offices in government and bureaucracy in many countries indulge in unethical acts, this is not limited to underdeveloped or developing countries but this takes place in the developed countries too. A renowned investment banker Rajat Gupta was convicted and sentenced to jail for insider trading activity which is considered an illegal act under the securities laws of most of the countries. In the case of Gupta, it was not the lack of education, but errors in judgement and decision making which led to his prison sentence. There are also instances of many businessmen, corporates, and celebrities involved in tax evasion, and in such cases education hardly plays a role. It’s the character of the person that plays a greater role.

Osama bin Laden was an educated person but that didn’t stop him from indulging in criminal activities. There are people who are highly educated but who take a path which causes harm to their society and eventually end up in prison. The linking of education to the minimization of crimes is correct to some extent but cannot be said with surety that a person with a greater education won’t turn into a criminal. It’s one’s own will power which prevents a person from indulging in criminal activities.

Ultimately, it depends on the circumstances and the environment in which one grows up. The upbringing of the person, the quality of people one meets or has been in contact with, the behavior of the family members of the person, their interpersonal relations, these all play a critical role in the growth of a child into a civilized adult. There are external factors too which impact a person’s life like the quality of friends a person has, the school to which he is enrolled, the other students in school, and the quality of teachers in the school. Schooling isn’t the sole factor affecting the person a child grows up to be, there are an innumerable number which are quieter in nature and differ from person to person and circumstance to circumstance. Going to school and becoming educated can impact the life of a person in a positive way but it is not education alone that can prevent a person from committing crime, it’s the circumstances a person faces in life which can create negativity in the mind of the person and eventually he commits crime.

2 comments on “Does being educated make a person less prone to criminal activities?

  1. Christina on

    A person’s upbringing, like you say, is definitely part of a person’s education. I’m curious how you’ve witnessed the culture in India to affect upbringing and if a person’s general upbringing differs much between your generation and the generations nearest to you.

    • Mukesh mirpuri on

      Thanks for your comment Christina, well, not only in India but across the globe it depends on family atmosphere, children can be moulded in whatever we want so its always better to inculcate good values in them so that they grow into a good person who serves the society. Thank you


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