Basic Facts



Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

– Nelson Mandela



Education has the power to transform the lives of individuals and the prospects of nations. Education fundamentally influences who we are, what we know, how we think, and what we can do.  Quality basic education, particularly for girls, directly impacts all factors of human development, including:

Basic education reduces poverty and spurs economic growth.

  • No country has reached sustained economic growth without achieving near universal primary education.
  • Recent research has found that educational quality—measured by what people know—has powerful effects on individual earnings, on the distribution of income, and on economic growth.
  • One extra year of schooling has been found to increase an individual’s earnings by up to 10%.
  • Additionally, each year that a girl attends school beyond fourth grade results in a 20 percent increase in wages.
  • For every $1 spent on education, as much as $10 to $15 can be generated in economic growth.
  • If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty.  Learn More

Basic education protects against HIV/AIDS.

  • Girls who stay in school delay sexual activity and have fewer partners, reducing their risk of infection with HIV/AIDS.
  • A girl who completes basic education is three times less likely to contract HIV.
  • Young people with little or no education are more than twice as likely to contract HIV as those who have completed primary education.
  • Women with post-primary education are five times more likely than illiterate women to know the necessary facts about HIV and AIDS.
  • If all children completed primary education, 700,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS could be prevented each year.  Learn More

Basic education builds civil society.

  • Education fosters tolerance and understanding, and promotes democratization and stability.
  • An educated citizenry that is capable of making informed decisions, voicing opinions, and holding elected officials responsible is essential for democracy to survive and flourish.
  • Evidence shows that as secondary school enrollment increases, government corruption decreases.  Learn More

Basic education leads to stronger and healthier families.

  • Educated women marry later and have healthier children. Their children have higher survival rates, better health and nutrition, and are more likely to attend and succeed in school.
  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.  Children of mothers with secondary education or higher are twice as likely to survive beyond 5.
  • The most effective way to address preventable diseases, including small pox, tuberculosis, diarrhea and other water-borne illnesses, is through education and behavior change. Learn More

Basic education protects hard-to-reach children in emergencies and conflicts.

  • Nearly half the world’s out-of-school children are in countries affected by conflict.  Schools provide security and a sense of normalcy for children in emergency or conflict situations, and education provides a foundation of tolerance and understanding to begin rebuilding a peaceful society.
  • Access to a quality basic education is also one of the best ways to prevent child labor, child soldiers, child marriage and trafficking in children, and schools help to reintegrate children returning home after conflict. Learn More

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