Education for Development

Case Study from IIASA Annual Report 2011:

IIASA's demographers are investigating the dynamics of an improving educational composition of the population and demonstrating the long-term implications of near-term investments in education.

Formal education has a positive influence on people’s capacity to cope with and adapt to adverse climatic
conditions, according to research conducted by the World Population Program (POP) in 2011. POP researchers are recommending that access to formal education be urgently promoted in areas where risk from climate change is greatest, especially as the benefits of education take a number of years to materialize.

POP uses its own “multi-state” approach to projections of fertility, mortality, and migration, with parameters including not only age and sex but also education attainment level. As level of education affects health, economic growth, and democracy, such projections provide a much more comprehensive picture of the when, how, and where of human wellbeing worldwide. They make policymakers aware of the double benefit of improving education levels in terms of increased economic prosperity and greater human wellbeing. Indeed, a study by IIASA’s Wolfgang Lutz and Samir K.C. published in 2011 in Science shows that projections of future population trends that do not explicitly include education in their analysis may be flawed.

POP research in 2011 also showed the particular benefits of educating women. More educated women typically want fewer children and are better able to overcome obstacles to family planning. Universal secondary female education, POP research suggests, could lower population growth and ultimately break the vicious circle of poverty and is the best way of supporting efforts toward sustainable development. In the final analysis, however, universal access to education is the key.

A 2011 study of Pakistan showed that rapid population growth, a lack of education for males and females, and poor opportunities for young people in general are putting the country at increasing risk of political violence. On a positive note, Pakistan’s increasingly favorable age structure means that, from 2025, it will have a large young labor force. If well educated, this labor force could be a major asset in terms of driving forward economic development.


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Last edited: 19 July 2013

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