Why Education Matters

The equation is simple: education is the most basic insurance against poverty. Education represents opportunity. At all ages, it empowers people with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to shape a better future. Evidence shows that education:


  • Gives people the knowledge and skills they need to live better lives, increasing the future income of students and reducing their chances of falling into poverty. If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. This is the equivalent of a to a 12% cut in global poverty. Just one extra year of schooling increases an individual’s earnings by up to 10%.
  • Is associated with lower levels of child mortality and better nutrition and health. Children from families with educated mothers are more likely to be vaccinated and less likely to be stunted because of malnourishment. Children are twice as likely to survive beyond age 5 ┬áif their mothers completed secondary education or higher as those whose mothers have no education. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, approximately 1.8 million children’s lives could be saved if their mothers had at least secondary education.
  • Fosters peace and reduces the risk of war. If the enrolment rate for secondary schooling is 10% higher than the average, the risk of war is reduced by about 3%.
  • Promotes gender equality. One additional year of school reduces the probability of becoming a mother by 7.3 % for women who have completed at least primary education. If mothers stayed in education, maternal deaths would be reduced by two-thirds and child marriage would drop by 64%. Wages, agricultural income and productivity are higher where women involved in agriculture receive a better education. One additional school year can increase a woman’s earnings by 10% to 20%.