The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced a partnership with the MasterCard and Douglas B. Marshall Jr. Family foundations and an anonymous donor to boost the participation, quality, and relevance of secondary education for marginalized children, especially girls, in developing countries.
The four partners have pledged up to $5 million to identify and support innovative initiatives that provide learning opportunities as well as life and livelihood skills for underserved youth between the ages of 12 and 19 in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, and India. Working together, the partners will select pilot projects focused on interventions that offer innovative solutions designed to improve learning and access to education for marginalized groups of children; research that provides a rigorous evidence base with respect to educational barriers; policy-relevant solutions for overcoming these barriers; and assistance with scaling successful models.
According to MacArthur, high-quality secondary school education has a measurable positive impact on young people's health, child mortality rates, and economic growth, while more education for girls has been shown to deliver real benefits for society as a whole. Indeed, in developing countries, one additional year of education adds about 10 percent to a person's earnings, while according to a 2011 report from the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, global poverty could be reduced by more than 10 percent if all students in low-income countries were to obtain basic reading skills in school.
"More participation and better quality education for girls could be a game changer for international development," said MacArthur president Robert Gallucci. "It offers the potential for large economic and social gains for individuals, their families, communities, and the world."