EDUCATION is an important determinant of poverty, a report has found.
The Children In Fiji: 2011 - An Atlas of Social Indicators recently launched by UNICEF revealed that "low levels of education dramatically increased the risk of poverty".
"The poverty rates in Fiji are higher for households where the head of the household does not have secondary education - at around 50 per cent versus 35 per cent overall poverty rate," the report said.
Thus, half of all households with heads who have attained secondary school education lived under the poverty line.
The report said Fiji has a well-educated population with only 150,709 of the total population of 837,271 living in households where the heads were less than secondary-educated.
It said poverty was still high for most secondary-educated heads of households and significantly lower for those who had attained post-secondary education. Only 10 per cent of post-secondary-educated heads of households lived in poverty. Pita Wise, the permanent secretary for strategic planning, national development and statistics, said challenges remained for the government to improve the quality of education as it affected poverty levels.
"Education is not only an important right in itself, there is also a very strong correlation between low levels of education and poverty later in life," he said.