FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2023
Media contact: Joe Shaffner, Director of Communications,
The Population Council, firstname.lastname@example.org
New York City, NY – The Population Council today announced the official launch of a new global innovation hub for research on education – the Gender, Education, Justice, and Equity Initiative (GEJE).
To mark the launch, GEJE released new data on the powerful economic and social benefits of providing 12 years of quality education to all children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
GEJE’s simulated model showed that universal secondary education in LMICs could boost annual gross national income (GNI) by INT$8.1 trillion for young adults aged 15-24 years, reduce the annual number of child marriages by 2 million, and reduce the number of women aged 15-49 who experience any form of intimate partner violence (IPV) by 81.3 million.
These potential impacts are hampered by the global learning crisis and inequities in participation. While progress has been made in access to schooling, completion rates remain stagnant, and learning outcomes remain unacceptably low. Seven out of every ten children in LMICs are unable to read and understand simple text by the age of ten. Only 1 in 4 children in sub-Saharan Africa complete upper secondary school, and reading and math scores in the United States continue to decline.
“The consequences of the global education crisis are catastrophic, leaving children and young adults across the globe without the skills and opportunities they need to thrive and lead secure, healthy, and successful lives,” said Nicole Haberland, GEJE Director and Senior Associate at the Population Council. “The effects are widespread, but they are hardly equally distributed. It impacts those who are disadvantaged the most. That is why GEJE directly addresses three of the biggest barriers to learning and quality education: regressive gender norms, inequity, and injustice.”
By working together with educators, policymakers, funders, and community leaders from around the world to address key research gaps, GEJE focuses on five key areas that identify and rigorously assess practical, innovative solutions in the United States and LMICs. These include:
- Breaking down structural barriers to school access
- Catalyzing investment in quality early childhood education
- Giving every child access to foundational learning
- Championing gender transformative education
- Building STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and critical thinking skills for an uncertain future
“Nicole Haberland is exceptionally well-placed to lead GEJE and chart its future direction,” said Dr. Thoai Ngo, Vice President of Social and Behavioral Science Research at the Population Council. “She brings decades of expertise in girls’ education, adolescent well-being, and gender and power inequalities, coupled with demonstrated impacts on people’s lives by generating innovative research and evidence-based solutions. Education is the cornerstone of the Council’s 2022-2030 strategic plan, and I am proud that GEJE’s work is grounded in equity and justice principles, ensuring that no child, anywhere, is excluded from the transformative promise of quality education.”
Building on the Population Council’s 70-year legacy of impactful research driving global policies to address the world’s most pressing issues, particularly in gender and education, GEJE generates data and insights on the ripple effects of education, unpacks why progress in education has not translated into economic and social equity, and identifies programs that are working to eliminate inequity and injustice.
“GEJE’s intensified focus on ensuring equitable access to learning is critical. We are proud to collaborate on this important effort; I am also convinced that promoting the empowerment of girls and women, and their inclusion in STEM areas, has a positive impact on the progress of science and technology,” remarked Ana Chan, Secretary of Science and Technology for the Government of Guatemala (Senacyt).
Greater investments in quality education, directed to evidence-based programs, are long overdue. 502 million children worldwide are facing learning poverty. The urgent need for global investment in education is paramount to ensure that the rising generation is equipped with vital foundational skills, values of equity, and critical thinking skills, preparing them to succeed in a twenty-first century landscape increasingly shaped by the climate crisis and by escalating social and economic challenges.
The Population Council celebrates the announcement of GEJE with an online launch and in-person event with education experts in New York City.
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About the Population Council
The Population Council is a leading research organization dedicated to building an equitable and sustainable world that enhances the health and well-being of current and future generations. GEJE generates data and insights on the ripple effects of education, unpacks how progress in education can translate into economic and social equity, and identifies programs that are working to eliminate inequity and injustice. Learn more at www.popcouncil.org.
About the Population Council’s Gender, Education, Justice and Equity Initiative (GEJE)
GEJE, a new innovation hub at the Population Council, focuses on tackling the global learning crisis and inequities in participation. GEJE generates data and insights on the ripple effects of education, unpacks why progress in education has not translated into economic and social equity, and identifies programs that are working to eliminate inequity and injustice. Learn more at www.popcouncil.org/hub/geje/.