Universal Basic and Secondary Education
What would it take to ensure that every child in the world, from age 6 to 16, receives
an education of good quality? How important is universal education compared to other
development objectives such as health, nutrition, income, and physical security?
Would a concerted effort to provide universal education help reduce birth rates
in countries where rapid population growth impedes economic development, damages
the environment, and depresses living standards?
These are some of the questions that are being addressed in a major Academy project,
Universal Basic and Secondary Education (UBASE), led by Joel Cohen (Rockefeller
and Columbia Universities) and David Bloom (Harvard School of Public Health). The
project is assembling teams of scholars and practitioners from a wide variety of
fields to begin the preliminary study of the rationale, means, and consequences
of providing universal education. Participants will offer informed but fresh perspectives
on the magnitude of the challenge, the opportunity costs, and the potential benefits
of such an ambitious undertaking.
Economists, developmental psychologists, demographers, statisticians, historians,
cultural anthropologists, public health workers, business leaders, and others, working
with representatives from the World Bank and the United Nations, will join with
educators to study the environmental, demographic, economic, and cultural impact
of universal education. They will develop a set of thoroughly researched, multidisciplinary,
and well-integrated reports that will be published, along with critical commentary,
by the Academy.
The study is supported by a major grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
and a small number of individual donors.
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