Poverty and Social Analysis Of Countries


Education is often promoted as the solution to poverty in the developing world. The setting up of the Foundation is to make a call for a greater role in National Development priorities in Education. It is recognised that vocational and technical education is important in supporting the economic development of a country and the socio-economic needs of a country.

The Foundation hopes and dreams to be able to change and change the lives of these children from impoverished countries giving them a chance to earn a decent living in the competitive environment with a solid trained skill. The Integrity and Moral Studies that these students will undergo will give them the moral obligation to change the business environment of greed, corruption and dishonesty. It is with this hope that they can then change and touch the lives of their families, friends and society. It is said even the smallest of a pebble can cause ripples far beyond one can see. The Foundation hopes to create a truly integrated individual with skill, honesty and compassion to serve the world. Once these young adults become successful, they too can contribute to the Foundation in whatever capacity they can afford keeping the cycle of hope and change moving from one individual to another.


The total population of Cambodia is 11.4 million, with an annual growth rate of some 2.8 percent. An estimated 1.2 million people reside in the capital, Phnom Penh. The population density is approximately 45 people per square kilometre.

The larger single majority group is that of the Cham-Malays, who are settled mainly along the Mekong to the north of Phnom Penh. Descended from the inhabitants of the ancient kingdom of Champa in what is now southern coastal Viet Nam. Decades of turmoil had devastated the country’s primary industries of agriculture, forestry and fishing and inflation was running rampant. No doubt Phnom Penh and Siem Reap now display many signs of new wealth this has yet to filter through to the rural areas, where economic activity continues to be very basic.

Cambodia remains one of the world’s least developed nations with limited resources and heavy dependence on foreign aid. Economic growth also continues to be hampered by basic infrastructural problems such as inadequate road, inefficient communications, deficiency of power, raw materials and most importantly the acute shortage of trained and skilled workers.

The education system in Cambodia continues to be beset by many difficulties including an acute shortage of qualified teaching staff, poor morale amongst teachers and lack of suitable teaching materials. Attendance at school remains limited in rural areas as children are often expected to help out their families in the fields. Cambodia still has a low participation rate in higher education, with just 1.2 per cent of the population enrolled, compare with an average of 20.7 per cent in all the Asean countries.

The overwhelming problems are still financial and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) admits that there is little likelihood of providing the opportunity for every child to have nine years of education in the very near future. There are still enormous problems with education service delivery, including a large gap in education quality between urban and rural or remote schools. Teachers are paid as little as ten dollars per month. Since they cannot live on such wages, they must supplement their income with other jobs, which often cuts into class times. In addition, the teacher must also charge students fees to attend their classes, or offer additional for-fee classes outside the regular class times. This means that the poorest students are often locked out of classes where the real teaching taking place.


Poverty remains very much a reality of life in Indonesia affecting nearly half of the country’s population. Close to 42 percent of Indonesia’s 220 million people earn between just US$1 and US$2 a day and according to World Bank, many of the country’s impoverished are at risk of remaining trapped in this vicious cycle of poverty. It is estimated that some 40 per cent of the poor cannot afford to give their children a secondary education, thus perpetuating poverty from one generation to the next. Amidst the typical modern buildings in Jakarta, urban poverty is very pronounce with the poor having restricted access to assets that would enable them to participate in economic growth.

The government provides free health services to the population, which is available even in rural areas. Government expenditure for health services and social services is equal to 3% of GDP. The level and quality of services differ according to the geography of the country. There are hard core poverty programs and the Government provides food aid to vulnerable groups while for others, rural road projects provide assistance. These are financed by donor countries and by charities. There is no general social assistance program available to the population. However, when the Government reduced fuel subsidies some two years ago, it also introduced a cash compensation system under which cash is distributed directly to the most poor families through the network of post offices. In addition, the Government is now considering the implementation of a system of Conditional Cash Transfers designed to improve the education and health system participation levels of recipient families. The law aims to apply the social insurance, work injury, old-age (provident fund), pensions, and death benefits but has yet to be implemented due to administrative problems. The law further stipulates that the Government will develop social assistance programs for the general public. There are however concerns that there is a serious miss-match between the objectives of the law on one hand and financial, institutional, organisational and regulatory capacities to implement the law on the other.

The poverty rate due to its large population is high standing at an estimated 19%.


Poverty in the Lao PDR is lower in urban than in remote areas, on localities with roads than those without roads. It is heavily concentrated in upland areas inhabited largely by ethnic groups. The regional and socio-economic discrepancies in the distribution of resources, wealth and assets are a key challenge. Food poverty declined faster than overall poverty and malnutrition remains an acknowledged problem.

Recognizing the seriousness of the scale of poverty, the Lao Government prepared a poverty reduction strategy, as laid out in the National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy (NGPES) and the National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP, 2006-10), which revolves around the prioritization of 47 poorest districts for special poverty reduction programmes.

In view of the difficult geography and remoteness of parts of the country, the NGPES endorsed a strategy of poor area development. The implementation focused on 47 priority districts out of a total of 142 districts, identified on a set of household, village and district level. Malnutrition remains an acknowledged problem in the Lao PDR. The extent of child malnutrition is of concern with only little improvement since 1990. Estimates suggest that despite considerable efforts, 38% of children under five years of age are underweight. Chronic malnutrition or stunting remains a problem in Laos, affecting 41% of children under the age of five and requires urgent attention by both government and the international community.

During the last decade, Lao PDR has made advances in several areas including economic and educational growth. Many communities are significantly involved in school affairs by contributing funds, providing labor for construction, and less often, participating in local educational planning and monitoring school governance and teacher behaviour. Teachers remain on the job in spite of grossly inadequate and infrequently delivered salaries. The education bureaucracy is often dedicated and hardworking. Nevertheless, the education sector remains inadequately planned, under-financed and under-professionalized. Most children acquire some schooling but attendance is sporadic. The quality of instruction tends to be poor, and nearly half of those who enter do not complete the primary cycle.

Economic management was weak, the country remained dependent on external assistance and many development projects could not be satisfactorily completed mainly due to lack of skilled labor. Recent economic downturn has eaten deeply into the benefits of economic growth and the economic downturn in neighbouring countries has made the labor market outlook less predictable. The economy’s capacity for continued rapid growth is constrained by factors like geographic location, high population growth rate, low domestic saving, chronic and wide-spread poverty, and most of all weak physical and human infrastructure.

Although classified as a least developed country, the last decade has seen social and educational progress. The chances of child survival have improved, children and youth are acquiring more schooling, adult literacy rates have increased and the population annual growth rate has been reduced to 2.4 percent. Chronic malnutrition of children persists with only 20% of children are immunized.

The Lao PDR population of 6.8 million are largely unskilled work force. As noted, Lao PDR has a high population growth rate and high population dependency ratio. It is more expensive to provide individual schools for each small village than to build a smaller number of large schools in cities. These rural-urban differences are even more significant for provision of secondary and technical or vocational schools given the higher unit costs involved. Therefore, large families force choices as to which children go to school, tending to suppress female enrolments and indirectly reducing the number of subsequent opportunities for girls in education and in the labor market.

Education in Lao is developing within a changing cultural and social context and in an uncertain economic environment. The education system is evolving under severely constraining conditions of inadequately prepared and poorly paid teachers, insufficient funding, shortages of facilities and often ineffective allocation of the limited resources available. There are significant geographic, ethnic, gender and wealth disparities in the distribution of education services and inequalities exist in access and success at every level of the system. On the brighter sight many communities demonstrate great effort and sacrifice by contributing labor, money and time to build, develop and maintain local schools in an attempt to provide quality education to all children in an economically poor region of the world.


A social welfare program administered by the Department of Social Welfare provides limited first pillar social assistance to the needy, disabled, single parents and orphans. The general population receives minimal monthly payouts after stringent means tests and this is for only a year. The program is funded from the Government’s general revenues which are tax based. The Ministry of Health provides comprehensive health services virtually free. The total expenditure on social services as a percentage of the GDP is 8% and is amongst the highest in the region.

The poverty rate is 7.5% which rates far better than the others.


Myanmar’s citizens are no better off now than 20 years ago and the poor earns a daily wages of US$1 – US$3. According to a 2005 UNDP household survey, one-third of Myanmar’s population lives below the poverty line and is considered as one of the least developed countries with a population of approximately 50 million. Insufficient of income and shortage of economic assets at household level are behind many of the most urgent poverty issues in Myanmar, including food insecurity, growing indebtedness, poor health and low educational attainment.

The education system is chronically under-funded and poorly managed. According to UNICEF, the government investment in education declined from 1% of GDP in 1994/95 to 0.3% in 1999/2000, and ranks amongst the lowest in the world. Generation after generation is being deprived of the opportunity to acquire the skills and capacities needed to master the developmental challenges the country is facing. One of the greatest challenges in the education sector is the low student retention and completion rates with majority of dropouts occurring during the first year, mainly within the first three months of school. In some rural areas, children from ethnic groups have no access to schooling mainly due to geographical isolation, family poverty or on-going ethnic conflict.

Assessment of economic developments in Myanmar is made difficult by poor quality data. Official information and statistics provided by the Government on the economy and fiscal monetary situations are not perceived to be credible.

Myanmar’s poorest and most vulnerable population groups lack adequate food supply and government figure indicated that only 37 percent of households were consuming calories at or above recommended daily requirement and only 56 percent were consuming enough protein. Health deficiencies are so prevalent that three-quarters of children under five suffering from anaemia and almost one-quarter of all infants are born underweight, and one out of every three children under five years old is severely malnourished.

The initial law on social security protection only covers certain employees in state employment, certain categories civil servants and temporary and permanent employees in private enterprises. All employees in private enterprises with five or more employees are covered. These employees are covered only for sickness and work injury and death during work. There is no old age, disability or survivor’s pension.

The country does not have a proper social protection system. The poverty rate is estimated to be 22.4% at the rural level and 23.9% at the urban level.


Government expenditure on health and social services in the Philippines is 6% of GDP. However less than one fifth (1/5) of this is devoted to social services. The Government provides health universally to all citizens with emphasis on child and maternal care and immunization. Basic welfare assistance is provided to the disabled and poor. The amount is low and the provision is for a short term generally after natural disasters.

Rural poverty incidence is much more pronounced than urban poverty incidence, but the number of urban poor families is increasing. The proportion of the population living on less than US$2 per day was greatly higher at 44.1% in 2003. Economic growth is a necessary precondition for poverty reduction but the quality of that growth is important. Economic growth has not been high enough to keep up with population growth. This is partly result of mismanagement of the economy and partly a result of external shocks, to which Philippines is particularly vulnerable. They have a high poverty incidence rate at 28.4% of its population.

The expansion in the availability of education was not always accompanied by qualitative improvements. Other data revealed a direct relationship between literacy levels, educational attainment and incidence of poverty. As a rule, families with incomes below the poverty line could not afford to educate their children beyond elementary school. Programs aimed at improving work productivity and family income could alleviate some of the problems in education, such as the high dropout rates that reflected, at least in part, family and work needs. Other problems, such as poor teacher performance, overcrowded classrooms, and low wages are part of the issues.


After the drastic fall of the Thai economy during the 1997 financial crisis many firms closed down and the unemployment rate increased from about 500,000 persons at end of 1997 to 1.2 millions in 2000. The severe recession eroded the gains of high growth rates over the past decades. Exports were sluggish and domestic demand collapsed. Downsizing, cost reductions and businesses hurt by credit crunch has led to a sharp increase in unemployment and underemployment. As a result, the most vulnerable group of the population suffered from these impacts and faced a greater hardship as welfare support declined.

Thailand’s expenditure on health and other social services is 3.5% of the GDP. The medical welfare services scheme covers 25 million or 41.4% of the population. There are no universally accessible programs covering the population. A scheme for social welfare provides some protection for the poor, disabled and aged. The assistance is short term and limited in scope.

The poverty rate here is 10.3% and mainly concentrated in the rural areas.


Vietnam is a low-income country and inequalities in wealth and consumption. The greatest gap is between rural and urban areas and between the majority and minority ethnic groups. 19% of 5-year old children and 16% of the 12-year old live below the absolute poverty line, most in rural area. The average wealth index in urban areas was 1.5 times that of rural areas and the average urban household’s expenditure on consumption was more than twice that of a rural household.

The significance of parental education as a factor in the intergenerational transmission of poverty is clearly demonstrated, with deprivations experienced by parents during childhood impacting upon their children and their children’s children. Two-thirds of families with maternal education below primary school were in the bottom 20% of the cohort. Even if economic growth allows households to escape from income poverty, poor parental education will continue to have a negative impact on other child outcomes.

Overall literacy is high in Vietnam, but disparities in the quality of education has an effect on learning outcomes, with only 82% of the poorest 12 years old able to complete a literacy test, and 7% not being able to write a coherent sentence. As such this would have implications for children’s future prospects and well-being, with the strong likelihood that they be unable to escape the poverty trap in which their parents were caught. It is notable to note that there are significant gaps in all areas between rural and urban children and especially between majority and minority ethnic groups. Essentially policies to reduce income poverty are complemented by access to quality education for all, if intergenerational poverty traps are to be broken. Therefore it is important to note that parental education has a key role to play in the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

The protection given to invalids and war veterans is comprehensive as well as people affected by Agent Orange. Others categorized as poor have some support from the welfare department. They receive free medical assistance in government hospitals. Social assistance programs are also carried out through state owned enterprises. The organisation for the provision of health services to the sick and aged in rural areas is supported by the former communist framework of co-operatives, production teams and brigades existing in the rural sector.

The poverty incidence is 13.3% and like their neighbours, it is mainly concentrated in the rural areas and the urban poor population is growing steadily.