70 years ago, education was declared a universal human right. Let’s see just how dramatically education has been changing our world.
Education has been a universally recognized fundamental human right for the past 70 years, thanks to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
While this declaration did not mean every person in the world was suddenly granted access to a quality education overnight, it has greatly affected our world for the better. The right to education has since been enshrined in national constitutions, development plans, and many international conventions.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
While the word choice of “weapon” is a bit unsuitable, Mandela’s words ring true.
It has become increasingly clear that education is the most powerful tool for promoting empowerment and freedom. Education provides innumerable benefits not only to the individuals receiving it — these educated and empowered individuals go on to create ripples of positive change in their communities, societies, and ultimately the world as a whole.
Let’s examine how exactly education as a human right is positively changing the world we live in.
Rising Out of Poverty
A quality education is the number one factor that empowers people to rise out of poverty, as they become equipped with valuable skills necessary for gaining employment.
According to the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, each additional year of schooling increases a person’s earnings by roughly 10%. Moreover, it’s been shown that for each $1 invested in additional education, average earnings increase by $5 in low-income countries and $2.50 in lower-middle income countries. This proves that getting an education is the most effective way for anyone to increase their income and rise above poverty.
As more citizens become educated, there is a direct rise in national and global economic growth as well. Education increases the human capital in the labor force, which allows for increased labor productivity. The end result is a more robust and prosperous national economy.
Quality education has also allowed new innovations in technology, products, and processes to rise exponentially. It’s no coincidence that the world is more educated than ever before, and we also happen to be rapidly advancing in science and technology in unprecedented ways, which further helps drive the global economy forward.
Education Makes the World a Safer Place
Without a proper education, many individuals wind up turning to crime just to get by.
One study conducted by the Economic Opportunity Institute revealed that missing just one extra year of early childhood education made children 70% more likely to be arrested for a crime by the age of 18.
Education teaches people right from wrong and helps them discover how to become a productive member of society. Education therefore helps reduce crime rates in the places that put a focus on providing quality education to their nation’s children.
Promotes Gender Equality
There’s still a long way to go before women enjoy equal rights in every nation on earth — however, education is the most surefire way to attain this goal. Education has been slowly but surely closing the gender inequality gap all across the globe.
Getting more girls into school and ensuring they have access to a quality education leads to innumerable benefits for the girls as well as their families, communities, and society as a whole.
The positive effects that are catalyzed simply by educating girls are truly profound.
According to data compiled by Global Partnership for Education (GPE), educating girls wound up averting more than 30 million deaths of children under five years old, and 100 million deaths in adults 15 to 60 years old. Providing universal secondary education could virtually end the practice of child marriage. If every girl worldwide was provided a quality 12-year education, the global lifetime earnings for women would increase by a massive $15 trillion to $30 trillion USD.
It is abundantly clear that educating girls saves lives, provides economic prosperity, decreases instances of forced marriages, plus innumerable other great benefits to society.
Thankfully, great organizations like GPE are dedicated to bringing educations to girls in the countries that need it most. Out of the 65+ countries GPE partners with, more than two-thirds of those nations had just as many girls complete primary school as boys in 2016. These newly educated girls will surely go on to bring many benefits to their nations and ultimately make our world a better and more progressive place.
Reduction in World Population
Our planet is currently facing a huge world population problem. The number of humans has been sharply and exponentially rising, and it is causing a huge strain on the planet.
Education is a powerful tool in moderating population growth. For women, one additional year of school reduces the probability of becoming a mother by 7.3%.
A great example that demonstrates the power of education in reducing population can be seen in Bangladesh. Through raising awareness and education on contraceptives among married women, fertility decreased from an average of 6 children per women in 1975 down to around 3 children today.
Decrease in Disease and Death
There is a direct correlation between education and health. Research in the developing world has gleaned that educational status — especially that of the mother — is a major predictor of health outcomes. Proper education about AIDS and HIV prevention has saved countless lives around the world.
It’s not just in developing nations that experience a correlation between education and health, either. In the US, it’s been discovered that adults without a high school diploma can expect to die 9 years sooner on average than college grads. Those with less education wind up with higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Through educating the public, our world can become a place with less disease and happier, healthier humans.
Education is Even Helping Combat Climate Change
Since education is aiding in the reduction of world population, it is also helping us manage massive environmental problems.
Simply by investing in universal education and family planning, it’s been shown that the world could reduce harmful emissions by a whopping 120 billion tons by 2050 — that’s about 10 years’ worth of China’s annual emissions that would never be created, all thanks to education.
Providing education in sustainable practices in agriculture to primary and secondary students can further reduce global warming as well, since one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions are made by agriculture. Through education, future farmers will hold critical knowledge about sustainability and making less of an impact on our earth.
The world needs more bright minds to get into the emerging green industries such as alternative power sources and waste reduction in order to create new innovations that will help us manage climate change. The only way this can happen is through quality education.
What You Can Do To Make an Impact or Get the Education You Deserve
It’s abundantly clear that education is the most powerful tool out there for creating positive change in our lives and the world as a whole.
While access to education has been declared a universal human right for the past 70 years, unfortunately many people out there still haven’t been able to get the education they deserve due to lack of funds, accessibility, or time.
This is where University of the People has stepped in to help. We provide tuition-free higher education to anyone, anywhere, because we truly believe a good education is a fundamental human right that should be made available to everyone.
From Syrian refugees that don’t have the money or access to universities, to students in Nigeria where there are not enough university seats available, to American citizens that were forced to drop out of college with crushing debts — everyone is welcome to join University of the People and get an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree.
University of the People has partnered with Harvard, Yale, Oxford, the Clinton Foundation, and many other prestigious organizations to provide the world with access to a high-quality education.
If you have felt like you can’t get a degree because you don’t have the money or time, consider checking out University of the People — it might just change your life.
If you aren’t looking for higher education but still want to join the the movement to make universal education as a human right come true, consider making a donation to increase the speed of this revolution. You will be directly changing students’ lives and ultimately making the world a better place as a whole.
From empowering women, to reducing crime, to even combating climate change, education is a crucial piece of the puzzle to ensuring our world continues to get better and better every day. The positive effects that stem from educating individuals end up rippling across the entire earth in innumerable ways.
In the worlds of Malala Yousafzai (youngest nobel prize winner):
“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”