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What Is Education For?

Read an excerpt from a new book by Sir Ken Robinson and Kate Robinson, which calls for redesigning education for the future.

Student presentation

What is education for? As it happens, people differ sharply on this question. It is what is known as an “essentially contested concept.” Like “democracy” and “justice,” “education” means different things to different people. Various factors can contribute to a person’s understanding of the purpose of education, including their background and circumstances. It is also inflected by how they view related issues such as ethnicity, gender, and social class. Still, not having an agreed-upon definition of education doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it or do anything about it.

We just need to be clear on terms. There are a few terms that are often confused or used interchangeably—“learning,” “education,” “training,” and “school”—but there are important differences between them. Learning is the process of acquiring new skills and understanding. Education is an organized system of learning. Training is a type of education that is focused on learning specific skills. A school is a community of learners: a group that comes together to learn with and from each other. It is vital that we differentiate these terms: children love to learn, they do it naturally; many have a hard time with education, and some have big problems with school.

Cover of book 'Imagine If....'

There are many assumptions of compulsory education. One is that young people need to know, understand, and be able to do certain things that they most likely would not if they were left to their own devices. What these things are and how best to ensure students learn them are complicated and often controversial issues. Another assumption is that compulsory education is a preparation for what will come afterward, like getting a good job or going on to higher education.

So, what does it mean to be educated now? Well, I believe that education should expand our consciousness, capabilities, sensitivities, and cultural understanding. It should enlarge our worldview. As we all live in two worlds—the world within you that exists only because you do, and the world around you—the core purpose of education is to enable students to understand both worlds. In today’s climate, there is also a new and urgent challenge: to provide forms of education that engage young people with the global-economic issues of environmental well-being.

This core purpose of education can be broken down into four basic purposes.

Education should enable young people to engage with the world within them as well as the world around them. In Western cultures, there is a firm distinction between the two worlds, between thinking and feeling, objectivity and subjectivity. This distinction is misguided. There is a deep correlation between our experience of the world around us and how we feel. As we explored in the previous chapters, all individuals have unique strengths and weaknesses, outlooks and personalities. Students do not come in standard physical shapes, nor do their abilities and personalities. They all have their own aptitudes and dispositions and different ways of understanding things. Education is therefore deeply personal. It is about cultivating the minds and hearts of living people. Engaging them as individuals is at the heart of raising achievement.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” and that “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Many of the deepest problems in current systems of education result from losing sight of this basic principle.

Schools should enable students to understand their own cultures and to respect the diversity of others. There are various definitions of culture, but in this context the most appropriate is “the values and forms of behavior that characterize different social groups.” To put it more bluntly, it is “the way we do things around here.” Education is one of the ways that communities pass on their values from one generation to the next. For some, education is a way of preserving a culture against outside influences. For others, it is a way of promoting cultural tolerance. As the world becomes more crowded and connected, it is becoming more complex culturally. Living respectfully with diversity is not just an ethical choice, it is a practical imperative.

There should be three cultural priorities for schools: to help students understand their own cultures, to understand other cultures, and to promote a sense of cultural tolerance and coexistence. The lives of all communities can be hugely enriched by celebrating their own cultures and the practices and traditions of other cultures.

Education should enable students to become economically responsible and independent. This is one of the reasons governments take such a keen interest in education: they know that an educated workforce is essential to creating economic prosperity. Leaders of the Industrial Revolution knew that education was critical to creating the types of workforce they required, too. But the world of work has changed so profoundly since then, and continues to do so at an ever-quickening pace. We know that many of the jobs of previous decades are disappearing and being rapidly replaced by contemporary counterparts. It is almost impossible to predict the direction of advancing technologies, and where they will take us.

How can schools prepare students to navigate this ever-changing economic landscape? They must connect students with their unique talents and interests, dissolve the division between academic and vocational programs, and foster practical partnerships between schools and the world of work, so that young people can experience working environments as part of their education, not simply when it is time for them to enter the labor market.

Education should enable young people to become active and compassionate citizens. We live in densely woven social systems. The benefits we derive from them depend on our working together to sustain them. The empowerment of individuals has to be balanced by practicing the values and responsibilities of collective life, and of democracy in particular. Our freedoms in democratic societies are not automatic. They come from centuries of struggle against tyranny and autocracy and those who foment sectarianism, hatred, and fear. Those struggles are far from over. As John Dewey observed, “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.”

For a democratic society to function, it depends upon the majority of its people to be active within the democratic process. In many democracies, this is increasingly not the case. Schools should engage students in becoming active, and proactive, democratic participants. An academic civics course will scratch the surface, but to nurture a deeply rooted respect for democracy, it is essential to give young people real-life democratic experiences long before they come of age to vote.

Eight Core Competencies

The conventional curriculum is based on a collection of separate subjects. These are prioritized according to beliefs around the limited understanding of intelligence we discussed in the previous chapter, as well as what is deemed to be important later in life. The idea of “subjects” suggests that each subject, whether mathematics, science, art, or language, stands completely separate from all the other subjects. This is problematic. Mathematics, for example, is not defined only by propositional knowledge; it is a combination of types of knowledge, including concepts, processes, and methods as well as propositional knowledge. This is also true of science, art, and languages, and of all other subjects. It is therefore much more useful to focus on the concept of disciplines rather than subjects.

Disciplines are fluid; they constantly merge and collaborate. In focusing on disciplines rather than subjects we can also explore the concept of interdisciplinary learning. This is a much more holistic approach that mirrors real life more closely—it is rare that activities outside of school are as clearly segregated as conventional curriculums suggest. A journalist writing an article, for example, must be able to call upon skills of conversation, deductive reasoning, literacy, and social sciences. A surgeon must understand the academic concept of the patient’s condition, as well as the practical application of the appropriate procedure. At least, we would certainly hope this is the case should we find ourselves being wheeled into surgery.

The concept of disciplines brings us to a better starting point when planning the curriculum, which is to ask what students should know and be able to do as a result of their education. The four purposes above suggest eight core competencies that, if properly integrated into education, will equip students who leave school to engage in the economic, cultural, social, and personal challenges they will inevitably face in their lives. These competencies are curiosity, creativity, criticism, communication, collaboration, compassion, composure, and citizenship. Rather than be triggered by age, they should be interwoven from the beginning of a student’s educational journey and nurtured throughout.

From Imagine If: Creating a Future for Us All by Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D and Kate Robinson, published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2022 by the Estate of Sir Kenneth Robinson and Kate Robinson.

The World Bank

The World Bank Group is the largest financier of education in the developing world, working in 94 countries and committed to helping them reach SDG4: access to inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.

Education is a human right, a powerful driver of development, and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. It delivers large, consistent returns in terms of income, and is the most important factor to ensure equity and inclusion.

For individuals, education promotes employment, earnings, health, and poverty reduction. Globally, there is a  9% increase in hourly earnings for every extra year of schooling . For societies, it drives long-term economic growth, spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion.  Education is further a powerful catalyst to climate action through widespread behavior change and skilling for green transitions.

Developing countries have made tremendous progress in getting children into the classroom and more children worldwide are now in school. But learning is not guaranteed, as the  2018 World Development Report  (WDR) stressed.

Making smart and effective investments in people’s education is critical for developing the human capital that will end extreme poverty. At the core of this strategy is the need to tackle the learning crisis, put an end to  Learning Poverty , and help youth acquire the advanced cognitive, socioemotional, technical and digital skills they need to succeed in today’s world. 

In low- and middle-income countries, the share of children living in  Learning Poverty  (that is, the proportion of 10-year-old children that are unable to read and understand a short age-appropriate text) increased from 57% before the pandemic to an estimated  70%  in 2022.

However, learning is in crisis. More than 70 million more people were pushed into poverty during the COVID pandemic, a billion children lost a year of school , and three years later the learning losses suffered have not been recouped .  If a child cannot read with comprehension by age 10, they are unlikely to become fluent readers. They will fail to thrive later in school and will be unable to power their careers and economies once they leave school.

The effects of the pandemic are expected to be long-lasting. Analysis has already revealed deep losses, with international reading scores declining from 2016 to 2021 by more than a year of schooling.  These losses may translate to a 0.68 percentage point in global GDP growth.  The staggering effects of school closures reach beyond learning. This generation of children could lose a combined total of  US$21 trillion in lifetime earnings  in present value or the equivalent of 17% of today’s global GDP – a sharp rise from the 2021 estimate of a US$17 trillion loss. 

Action is urgently needed now – business as usual will not suffice to heal the scars of the pandemic and will not accelerate progress enough to meet the ambitions of SDG 4. We are urging governments to implement ambitious and aggressive Learning Acceleration Programs to get children back to school, recover lost learning, and advance progress by building better, more equitable and resilient education systems.

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2024

The World Bank’s global education strategy is centered on ensuring learning happens – for everyone, everywhere. Our vision is to ensure that everyone can achieve her or his full potential with access to a quality education and lifelong learning. To reach this, we are helping countries build foundational skills like literacy, numeracy, and socioemotional skills – the building blocks for all other learning. From early childhood to tertiary education and beyond – we help children and youth acquire the skills they need to thrive in school, the labor market and throughout their lives.

Investing in the world’s most precious resource – people – is paramount to ending poverty on a livable planet.  Our experience across more than 100 countries bears out this robust connection between human capital, quality of life, and economic growth: when countries strategically invest in people and the systems designed to protect and build human capital at scale, they unlock the wealth of nations and the potential of everyone.

Building on this, the World Bank supports resilient, equitable, and inclusive education systems that ensure learning happens for everyone. We do this by generating and disseminating evidence, ensuring alignment with policymaking processes, and bridging the gap between research and practice.

The World Bank is the largest source of external financing for education in developing countries, with a portfolio of about $26 billion in 94 countries including IBRD, IDA and Recipient-Executed Trust Funds. IDA operations comprise 62% of the education portfolio.

The investment in FCV settings has increased dramatically and now accounts for 26% of our portfolio.

World Bank projects reach at least 425 million students -one-third of students in low- and middle-income countries.

The World Bank’s Approach to Education

Five interrelated pillars of a well-functioning education system underpin the World Bank’s education policy approach:

  • Learners are prepared and motivated to learn;
  • Teachers are prepared, skilled, and motivated to facilitate learning and skills acquisition;
  • Learning resources (including education technology) are available, relevant, and used to improve teaching and learning;
  • Schools are safe and inclusive; and
  • Education Systems are well-managed, with good implementation capacity and adequate financing.

The Bank is already helping governments design and implement cost-effective programs and tools to build these pillars.

Our Principles:

  • We pursue systemic reform supported by political commitment to learning for all children. 
  • We focus on equity and inclusion through a progressive path toward achieving universal access to quality education, including children and young adults in fragile or conflict affected areas , those in marginalized and rural communities,  girls and women , displaced populations,  students with disabilities , and other vulnerable groups.
  • We focus on results and use evidence to keep improving policy by using metrics to guide improvements.   
  • We want to ensure financial commitment commensurate with what is needed to provide basic services to all. 
  • We invest wisely in technology so that education systems embrace and learn to harness technology to support their learning objectives.   

Laying the groundwork for the future

Country challenges vary, but there is a menu of options to build forward better, more resilient, and equitable education systems.

Countries are facing an education crisis that requires a two-pronged approach: first, supporting actions to recover lost time through remedial and accelerated learning; and, second, building on these investments for a more equitable, resilient, and effective system.

Recovering from the learning crisis must be a political priority, backed with adequate financing and the resolve to implement needed reforms.  Domestic financing for education over the last two years has not kept pace with the need to recover and accelerate learning. Across low- and lower-middle-income countries, the  average share of education in government budgets fell during the pandemic , and in 2022 it remained below 2019 levels.

The best chance for a better future is to invest in education and make sure each dollar is put toward improving learning.  In a time of fiscal pressure, protecting spending that yields long-run gains – like spending on education – will maximize impact.  We still need more and better funding for education.  Closing the learning gap will require increasing the level, efficiency, and equity of education spending—spending smarter is an imperative.

  • Education technology  can be a powerful tool to implement these actions by supporting teachers, children, principals, and parents; expanding accessible digital learning platforms, including radio/ TV / Online learning resources; and using data to identify and help at-risk children, personalize learning, and improve service delivery.

Looking ahead

We must seize this opportunity  to reimagine education in bold ways. Together, we can build forward better more equitable, effective, and resilient education systems for the world’s children and youth.

Accelerating Improvements

Supporting countries in establishing time-bound learning targets and a focused education investment plan, outlining actions and investments geared to achieve these goals.

Launched in 2020, the  Accelerator Program  works with a set of countries to channel investments in education and to learn from each other. The program coordinates efforts across partners to ensure that the countries in the program show improvements in foundational skills at scale over the next three to five years. These investment plans build on the collective work of multiple partners, and leverage the latest evidence on what works, and how best to plan for implementation.  Countries such as Brazil (the state of Ceará) and Kenya have achieved dramatic reductions in learning poverty over the past decade at scale, providing useful lessons, even as they seek to build on their successes and address remaining and new challenges.  

Universalizing Foundational Literacy

Readying children for the future by supporting acquisition of foundational skills – which are the gateway to other skills and subjects.

The  Literacy Policy Package (LPP)   consists of interventions focused specifically on promoting acquisition of reading proficiency in primary school. These include assuring political and technical commitment to making all children literate; ensuring effective literacy instruction by supporting teachers; providing quality, age-appropriate books; teaching children first in the language they speak and understand best; and fostering children’s oral language abilities and love of books and reading.

Advancing skills through TVET and Tertiary

Ensuring that individuals have access to quality education and training opportunities and supporting links to employment.

Tertiary education and skills systems are a driver of major development agendas, including human capital, climate change, youth and women’s empowerment, and jobs and economic transformation. A comprehensive skill set to succeed in the 21st century labor market consists of foundational and higher order skills, socio-emotional skills, specialized skills, and digital skills. Yet most countries continue to struggle in delivering on the promise of skills development. 

The World Bank is supporting countries through efforts that address key challenges including improving access and completion, adaptability, quality, relevance, and efficiency of skills development programs. Our approach is via multiple channels including projects, global goods, as well as the Tertiary Education and Skills Program . Our recent reports including Building Better Formal TVET Systems and STEERing Tertiary Education provide a way forward for how to improve these critical systems.

Addressing Climate Change

Mainstreaming climate education and investing in green skills, research and innovation, and green infrastructure to spur climate action and foster better preparedness and resilience to climate shocks.

Our approach recognizes that education is critical for achieving effective, sustained climate action. At the same time, climate change is adversely impacting education outcomes. Investments in education can play a huge role in building climate resilience and advancing climate mitigation and adaptation. Climate change education gives young people greater awareness of climate risks and more access to tools and solutions for addressing these risks and managing related shocks. Technical and vocational education and training can also accelerate a green economic transformation by fostering green skills and innovation. Greening education infrastructure can help mitigate the impact of heat, pollution, and extreme weather on learning, while helping address climate change. 

Examples of this work are projects in Nigeria (life skills training for adolescent girls), Vietnam (fostering relevant scientific research) , and Bangladesh (constructing and retrofitting schools to serve as cyclone shelters).

Strengthening Measurement Systems

Enabling countries to gather and evaluate information on learning and its drivers more efficiently and effectively.

The World Bank supports initiatives to help countries effectively build and strengthen their measurement systems to facilitate evidence-based decision-making. Examples of this work include:

(1) The  Global Education Policy Dashboard (GEPD) : This tool offers a strong basis for identifying priorities for investment and policy reforms that are suited to each country context by focusing on the three dimensions of practices, policies, and politics.

  • Highlights gaps between what the evidence suggests is effective in promoting learning and what is happening in practice in each system; and
  • Allows governments to track progress as they act to close the gaps.

The GEPD has been implemented in 13 education systems already – Peru, Rwanda, Jordan, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sierra Leone, Niger, Gabon, Jordan and Chad – with more expected by the end of 2024.

(2)  Learning Assessment Platform (LeAP) : LeAP is a one-stop shop for knowledge, capacity-building tools, support for policy dialogue, and technical staff expertise to support student achievement measurement and national assessments for better learning.

Supporting Successful Teachers

Helping systems develop the right selection, incentives, and support to the professional development of teachers.

Currently, the World Bank Education Global Practice has over 160 active projects supporting over 18 million teachers worldwide, about a third of the teacher population in low- and middle-income countries. In 12 countries alone, these projects cover 16 million teachers, including all primary school teachers in Ethiopia and Turkey, and over 80% in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

A World Bank-developed classroom observation tool, Teach, was designed to capture the quality of teaching in low- and middle-income countries. It is now 3.6 million students.

While Teach helps identify patterns in teacher performance, Coach leverages these insights to support teachers to improve their teaching practice through hands-on in-service teacher professional development (TPD).

Our recent report on Making Teacher Policy Work proposes a practical framework to uncover the black box of effective teacher policy and discusses the factors that enable their scalability and sustainability.

 Supporting Education Finance Systems

Strengthening country financing systems to mobilize resources for education and make better use of their investments in education.

Our approach is to bring together multi-sectoral expertise to engage with ministries of education and finance and other stakeholders to develop and implement effective and efficient public financial management systems; build capacity to monitor and evaluate education spending, identify financing bottlenecks, and develop interventions to strengthen financing systems; build the evidence base on global spending patterns and the magnitude and causes of spending inefficiencies; and develop diagnostic tools as public goods to support country efforts.

Working in Fragile, Conflict, and Violent (FCV) Contexts

The massive and growing global challenge of having so many children living in conflict and violent situations requires a response at the same scale and scope. Our education engagement in the Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) context, which stands at US$5.35 billion, has grown rapidly in recent years, reflecting the ever-increasing importance of the FCV agenda in education. Indeed, these projects now account for more than 25% of the World Bank education portfolio.

Education is crucial to minimizing the effects of fragility and displacement on the welfare of youth and children in the short-term and preventing the emergence of violent conflict in the long-term. 

Support to Countries Throughout the Education Cycle

Our support to countries covers the entire learning cycle, to help shape resilient, equitable, and inclusive education systems that ensure learning happens for everyone. 

The ongoing  Supporting  Egypt  Education Reform project , 2018-2025, supports transformational reforms of the Egyptian education system, by improving teaching and learning conditions in public schools. The World Bank has invested $500 million in the project focused on increasing access to quality kindergarten, enhancing the capacity of teachers and education leaders, developing a reliable student assessment system, and introducing the use of modern technology for teaching and learning. Specifically, the share of Egyptian 10-year-old students, who could read and comprehend at the global minimum proficiency level, increased to 45 percent in 2021.

In  Nigeria , the $75 million  Edo  Basic Education Sector and Skills Transformation (EdoBESST)  project, running from 2020-2024, is focused on improving teaching and learning in basic education. Under the project, which covers 97 percent of schools in the state, there is a strong focus on incorporating digital technologies for teachers. They were equipped with handheld tablets with structured lesson plans for their classes. Their coaches use classroom observation tools to provide individualized feedback. Teacher absence has reduced drastically because of the initiative. Over 16,000 teachers were trained through the project, and the introduction of technology has also benefited students.

Through the $235 million  School Sector Development Program  in  Nepal  (2017-2022), the number of children staying in school until Grade 12 nearly tripled, and the number of out-of-school children fell by almost seven percent. During the pandemic, innovative approaches were needed to continue education. Mobile phone penetration is high in the country. More than four in five households in Nepal have mobile phones. The project supported an educational service that made it possible for children with phones to connect to local radio that broadcast learning programs.

From 2017-2023, the $50 million  Strengthening of State Universities  in  Chile  project has made strides to improve quality and equity at state universities. The project helped reduce dropout: the third-year dropout rate fell by almost 10 percent from 2018-2022, keeping more students in school.

The World Bank’s first  Program-for-Results financing in education  was through a $202 million project in  Tanzania , that ran from 2013-2021. The project linked funding to results and aimed to improve education quality. It helped build capacity, and enhanced effectiveness and efficiency in the education sector. Through the project, learning outcomes significantly improved alongside an unprecedented expansion of access to education for children in Tanzania. From 2013-2019, an additional 1.8 million students enrolled in primary schools. In 2019, the average reading speed for Grade 2 students rose to 22.3 words per minute, up from 17.3 in 2017. The project laid the foundation for the ongoing $500 million  BOOST project , which supports over 12 million children to enroll early, develop strong foundational skills, and complete a quality education.

The $40 million  Cambodia  Secondary Education Improvement project , which ran from 2017-2022, focused on strengthening school-based management, upgrading teacher qualifications, and building classrooms in Cambodia, to improve learning outcomes, and reduce student dropout at the secondary school level. The project has directly benefited almost 70,000 students in 100 target schools, and approximately 2,000 teachers and 600 school administrators received training.

The World Bank is co-financing the $152.80 million  Yemen  Restoring Education and Learning Emergency project , running from 2020-2024, which is implemented through UNICEF, WFP, and Save the Children. It is helping to maintain access to basic education for many students, improve learning conditions in schools, and is working to strengthen overall education sector capacity. In the time of crisis, the project is supporting teacher payments and teacher training, school meals, school infrastructure development, and the distribution of learning materials and school supplies. To date, almost 600,000 students have benefited from these interventions.

The $87 million  Providing an Education of Quality in  Haiti  project supported approximately 380 schools in the Southern region of Haiti from 2016-2023. Despite a highly challenging context of political instability and recurrent natural disasters, the project successfully supported access to education for students. The project provided textbooks, fresh meals, and teacher training support to 70,000 students, 3,000 teachers, and 300 school directors. It gave tuition waivers to 35,000 students in 118 non-public schools. The project also repaired 19 national schools damaged by the 2021 earthquake, which gave 5,500 students safe access to their schools again.

In 2013, just 5% of the poorest households in  Uzbekistan  had children enrolled in preschools. Thanks to the  Improving Pre-Primary and General Secondary Education Project , by July 2019, around 100,000 children will have benefitted from the half-day program in 2,420 rural kindergartens, comprising around 49% of all preschool educational institutions, or over 90% of rural kindergartens in the country.

In addition to working closely with governments in our client countries, the World Bank also works at the global, regional, and local levels with a range of technical partners, including foundations, non-profit organizations, bilaterals, and other multilateral organizations. Some examples of our most recent global partnerships include:

UNICEF, UNESCO, FCDO, USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:  Coalition for Foundational Learning

The World Bank is working closely with UNICEF, UNESCO, FCDO, USAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as the  Coalition for Foundational Learning  to advocate and provide technical support to ensure foundational learning.  The World Bank works with these partners to promote and endorse the  Commitment to Action on Foundational Learning , a global network of countries committed to halving the global share of children unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10 by 2030.

Australian Aid, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Echida Giving, FCDO, German Cooperation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Conrad Hilton Foundation, LEGO Foundation, Porticus, USAID: Early Learning Partnership

The Early Learning Partnership (ELP) is a multi-donor trust fund, housed at the World Bank.  ELP leverages World Bank strengths—a global presence, access to policymakers and strong technical analysis—to improve early learning opportunities and outcomes for young children around the world.

We help World Bank teams and countries get the information they need to make the case to invest in Early Childhood Development (ECD), design effective policies and deliver impactful programs. At the country level, ELP grants provide teams with resources for early seed investments that can generate large financial commitments through World Bank finance and government resources. At the global level, ELP research and special initiatives work to fill knowledge gaps, build capacity and generate public goods.

UNESCO, UNICEF:  Learning Data Compact

UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank have joined forces to close the learning data gaps that still exist and that preclude many countries from monitoring the quality of their education systems and assessing if their students are learning. The three organizations have agreed to a  Learning Data Compact , a commitment to ensure that all countries, especially low-income countries, have at least one quality measure of learning by 2025, supporting coordinated efforts to strengthen national assessment systems.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS):   Learning Poverty Indicator

Aimed at measuring and urging attention to foundational literacy as a prerequisite to achieve SDG4, this partnership was launched in 2019 to help countries strengthen their learning assessment systems, better monitor what students are learning in internationally comparable ways and improve the breadth and quality of global data on education.

FCDO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:  EdTech Hub

Supported by the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the EdTech Hub is aimed at improving the quality of ed-tech investments. The Hub launched a rapid response Helpdesk service to provide just-in-time advisory support to 70 low- and middle-income countries planning education technology and remote learning initiatives.

MasterCard Foundation

Our Tertiary Education and Skills  global program, launched with support from the Mastercard Foundation, aims to prepare youth and adults for the future of work and society by improving access to relevant, quality, equitable reskilling and post-secondary education opportunities.  It is designed to reframe, reform, and rebuild tertiary education and skills systems for the digital and green transformation.


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Skills Development

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The Role of Education in Development

  • First Online: 30 August 2019

Cite this chapter

what is role for education

  • Tristan McCowan 6  

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Global Higher Education ((PSGHE))

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Understanding the role of education in development is highly complex, on account of the slippery nature of both concepts, and the multifaceted relationship between them. This chapter provides a conceptual exploration of these relationships, laying the groundwork for the rest of the book. First, it assesses the role of education as a driver of development, including aspects of economic growth, basic needs and political participation. Second, it looks at the constitutive perspective, involving education as national status, human right and human development. Finally, it assesses the ‘other face’ of education and its negative impacts, as well as the specificities of higher education in relation to other levels.

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McCowan, T. (2019). The Role of Education in Development. In: Higher Education for and beyond the Sustainable Development Goals. Palgrave Studies in Global Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19597-7_2

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Schools and colleges are transforming the lives of individual learners and their families. They play a core role in society. At the same time, they are continuously transformed by politics, markets, and scientific, technological, and cultural change. Sociologists of education and higher education at Harvard are engaged in basic and applied research, both contemporary and historical, and focusing on the United States as well as on cross-national and cross-cultural analyses. The broad array of research in this cluster applies core sociological concepts, such as equity and (in)equality; race and ethnicity; social networks; immigration; stratification; organizations; culture; social mobility; socialization and others to the study of education. The research cluster has links to the Graduate School of Education (GSE), the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education, the Secondary Field in Education Studies and the Mahindra Seminar on Universities: Past, Present and Future.

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Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

Education can shape an individual's life, both in the classroom and outside of it. A quality education can lay the groundwork for a successful career , but that's far from its only purpose. Education—both formal and informal—imparts knowledge, critical thinking skills, and, in many cases, an improved ability to approach unfamiliar situations and subjects with an open mind.

Some of the pressures of modern education, by contrast, are thought to contribute to the increased incidence of mental health challenges among today’s children and young adults. Examining current approaches to education—and identifying the ways in which they may be counterproductive—can help parents, teachers, and other stakeholders better support students’ well-being.

To learn more about helping kids succeed in school, see Academic Problems and Skills .

  • The Purpose of Education
  • What Makes Education Effective?
  • How Can We Improve Education?

Classroom full of young children, sitting at desks, hands raised

Scholars and philosophers have debated the purpose of education throughout history. Some have argued that education was necessary for an engaged citizenry; some felt its purpose was to promote obedience and indoctrinate youth to dominant cultural ideas; still others believed that the pursuit of knowledge was in itself a virtuous or even spiritual goal. Today, conversations around the purpose of education tend to center around child development and the economy—that is, how education can help children grow into healthy, competent adults who are able to support themselves financially and contribute to society. Some experts warn, however, that excessive focus on the economic and pragmatic benefits of education deprives the process of joy. Humans—especially children—are natural learners, they argue, and learning may be most valuable when it’s pursued for its own sake.

Education, broadly defined, is valuable for teaching children the social, emotional, and cognitive skills needed to function in society. Formal education is thought to facilitate social learning , build executive functioning skills, and allow children to explore subjects they may not naturally be exposed to. Informal education typically allows them to cultivate their own interests and learn self-direction , itself an important life skill.

Ideally, in the modern world, education will teach both the technical skills needed for future success and cultivate the critical thinking abilities that allow humans to creatively approach problems, engage new perspectives, and innovate in an ever-changing world. Whether the current system of formal education does that effectively, however, is a source of great debate among the public and policymakers alike.

Most policymakers and educational psychologists agree that some kind of formal education is necessary to function in the modern world. But many experts argue its hyperfocus on grades, testing, and following a set curriculum, rather than children’s interests, can actually be counterproductive and interfere with the natural learning process that more informal education approaches often provide. Excessively rigid schooling is also thought to contribute to heightened anxiety among children, especially those who fall behind or are otherwise non-normative.

Homeschooling —in which a child is not enrolled in a formal school, but instead is educated by their parents or with other homeschoolers—has both strengths and drawbacks. Some common benefits reported by families include increased flexibility in what is studied, the ability to pace the curriculum to a child’s needs, and a supportive learning environment. Potential cons include reduced opportunities for socialization, limited diversity in the opinions and subjects that a child may be exposed to, and an emotional and intellectual burden placed on parents, who may struggle to keep their child engaged or update their own knowledge to ensure they’re imparting useful, up-to-date information.

Grades can be valuable tools in determining which children grasp the material and which are struggling. But despite widespread myths that good grades are necessary to succeed in life , high school and college grades do not necessarily correlate with long-term success. And hyperfocus on grades can have profoundly negative effects, as students who pursue perfect grades at all costs often struggle with anxiety , depression , or feelings of burnout .

Highly-ranked colleges are widely assumed to confer lifelong benefits to attendees, including higher incomes and more prestigious, satisfying careers. But this isn’t necessarily true. Indeed, evidence suggests that, when controlling for prior socioeconomic status and academic achievement, attending an elite college makes little difference in someone’s later income. Other research suggests that the type of college someone attends has no effect on their later life satisfaction; instead, having supportive professors or participating in meaningful activities during college best predicts someone’s future well-being.

Three children playing with wooden blocks in classroom

Teachers, parents, and society at large have debated at length the criteria that denote a "good" education. In recent years, many educators have attempted to develop their curricula based on research and data, integrating the findings of developmental psychology and behavioral science into their lesson plans and teaching strategies. Recent debates have centered on how much information should be tailored to individual students vs. the class at large, and, increasingly, whether and how to integrate technology into classrooms. Students’ age, culture, individual strengths and weaknesses, and personal background—as well as any learning disabilities they may have—all play a role in the effectiveness of particular teachers and teaching methods.

The idea that education should be tailored to children’s different “learning styles”—typically categorized as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic—has been around for decades. But research has not found that creating targeted lessons based on children’s learning styles helps them learn more effectively ; some has even suggested that characterizing children as having one particular learning style could be unfairly limiting, and may stop them from tackling tasks outside of their comfort zone.

Children are by nature highly active, and an inability to move throughout the day often triggers inattention and poor mood—neither of which are conducive to learning. And moving during learning, not just before or after it, has been shown to be similarly beneficial; children who are allowed to move in class learn better , research shows, paying more attention and achieving higher outcomes.

Whether homework is beneficial is the subject of debate. Proponents argue that homework reinforces lessons and fosters time management and organizational skills. Opponents argue that excessive homework has been correlated with lower scores in critical subjects, like math and science, as well as worsened physical and mental health. Most experts argue that if homework is assigned, it should serve a specific purpose —rather than just being busywork—and should be tailored to a child’s age and needs. 

In general, evidence suggests that online-only courses are less effective than courses where students are able to meet in person. However, when in-person learning is not possible—such as during the COVID-19 pandemic—well-designed  distance learning  programs can bridge the gap. Research indicates that online programs that mix passive instruction with active practice, and that allow students to progress at their own pace, tend to be most effective.

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders appear to be significantly more common in today's college students than they once were. Nearly 1 in 5 university students suffer from anxiety or depression, research suggests, and many colleges—particularly larger ones—will face at least one student suicide per year. The reasons for this are complex, experts warn, but may be due to factors including the increased prevalence of social media , the financial and academic stress of college, reduced economic opportunity upon graduation, and decreased resilience among today's youth as a result of parental over-involvement.

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The world is changing rapidly, and so are children’s educational needs. While many people agree that education should prepare children for a competitive global economy, there has also been a push to recognize that children's well-being should be taken into consideration when planning curricula and structuring the school day.

To this end, parents and educators are confronting pedagogical questions such as: What is the optimal time to start school to make sure students can learn effectively—and get enough rest? How many and what kind of breaks do students need during the day? What are the best ways for students to learn, and do they differ depending on the subject being taught—or the students themselves?

In some of these areas, big changes are already taking place. Some states, for instance, are considering or have already passed laws that would delay school start times, making them more conducive to children's sleeping schedules. Other states have passed laws requiring recess, ensuring that children have access to physical activity throughout the day. These reforms, along with others, aim to protect children's physical and mental health—in addition to making them better able to focus, learn, and grow.

Many experts now believe that starting school later—typically after 8:30 A.M.—is better for children than starting earlier. This is particularly true for middle and high school children, who naturally sleep later than adults and may struggle to function if made to wake too early. Many school districts have implemented later school start times to account for this biological reality.

First and foremost, school recess provides the physical activity that is critical to a child’s physical and mental health. But recess is also an opportunity for children to socialize without (excessive) adult interference, which allows them to learn cooperation and conflict resolution skills.

Kindergarten and preschool programs are increasingly focusing on teaching children academic skills like math and reading. But evidence suggests that because children are not yet cognitively or emotionally equipped to handle most academic material, such early academic training can produce lasting harm . Some research has found that children in such programs do worse over the long term than children who spent preschool and kindergarten playing and socializing.

Children and young adults today are significantly more likely to experience mental health problems—especially anxiety and depression—than in decades past, and many will require mental health interventions at school. Evidence suggests that schools of any level can best support and help treat students with mental health disorders by proactively identifying students who need help, fostering a school culture that makes mental well-being a priority, and working to decrease stigma surrounding mental health care, both among students and their families. For students without diagnosable mental illnesses, schools can still be supportive by ensuring workloads are reasonable; providing opportunities for movement, creativity , and social connection; and reminding children, teenagers , and young adults that it's OK to ask for help.

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  • Progress towards quality education was already slower than required before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has had devastating impacts on education, causing learning losses in four out of five of the 104 countries studied.

Without additional measures, an estimated 84 million children and young people will stay out of school by 2030 and approximately 300 million students will lack the basic numeracy and literacy skills necessary for success in life.

In addition to free primary and secondary schooling for all boys and girls by 2030, the aim is to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to quality higher education.

Education is the key that will allow many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved. When people are able to get quality education they can break from the cycle of poverty.

Education helps to reduce inequalities and to reach gender equality. It also empowers people everywhere to live more healthy and sustainable lives. Education is also crucial to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.

  • To deliver on Goal 4, education financing must become a national investment priority. Furthermore, measures such as making education free and compulsory, increasing the number of teachers, improving basic school infrastructure and embracing digital transformation are essential.

What progress have we made so far?

While progress has been made towards the 2030 education targets set by the United Nations, continued efforts are required to address persistent challenges and ensure that quality education is accessible to all, leaving no one behind.

Between 2015 and 2021, there was an increase in worldwide primary school completion, lower secondary completion, and upper secondary completion. Nevertheless, the progress made during this period was notably slower compared to the 15 years prior.

What challenges remain?

According to national education targets, the percentage of students attaining basic reading skills by the end of primary school is projected to rise from 51 per cent in 2015 to 67 per cent by 2030. However, an estimated 300 million children and young people will still lack basic numeracy and literacy skills by 2030.

Economic constraints, coupled with issues of learning outcomes and dropout rates, persist in marginalized areas, underscoring the need for continued global commitment to ensuring inclusive and equitable education for all. Low levels of information and communications technology (ICT) skills are also a major barrier to achieving universal and meaningful connectivity.

Where are people struggling the most to have access to education?

Sub-Saharan Africa faces the biggest challenges in providing schools with basic resources. The situation is extreme at the primary and lower secondary levels, where less than one-half of schools in sub-Saharan Africa have access to drinking water, electricity, computers and the Internet.

Inequalities will also worsen unless the digital divide – the gap between under-connected and highly digitalized countries – is not addressed .

Are there groups that have more difficult access to education?

Yes, women and girls are one of these groups. About 40 per cent of countries have not achieved gender parity in primary education. These disadvantages in education also translate into lack of access to skills and limited opportunities in the labour market for young women.

What can we do?  

Ask our governments to place education as a priority in both policy and practice. Lobby our governments to make firm commitments to provide free primary school education to all, including vulnerable or marginalized groups.

what is role for education

Facts and figures

Goal 4 targets.

  • Without additional measures, only one in six countries will achieve the universal secondary school completion target by 2030, an estimated 84 million children and young people will still be out of school, and approximately 300 million students will lack the basic numeracy and literacy skills necessary for success in life.
  • To achieve national Goal 4 benchmarks, which are reduced in ambition compared with the original Goal 4 targets, 79 low- and lower-middle- income countries still face an average annual financing gap of $97 billion.

Source: The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023

4.1  By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes

4.2  By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education

4.3  By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university

4.4  By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship

4.5  By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations

4.6  By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy

4.7  By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

4.A  Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all

4.B  By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries

4.C  By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states

UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

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Global Education First Initiative

UN Population Fund: Comprehensive sexuality education

UN Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth

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New York, 1 August – Amid the education crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations is partnering with children's charity Theirworld to launch the #LetMeLearn campaign, urging world leaders to hear the [...]

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Role of Education in Society

The Role of Education in Society: How It Impacts Our Lives?

Role of Education in Society: Education is a process of acquiring knowledge, through which, a person learns to interact with society. We can pass down our values and beliefs to the next generation through education, and allow us to grow up to be productive members of society.

In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of education and how it impacts our lives.

Table of Contents

What is Education?

Education reforms the life of an individual and society as a whole. The primary purpose of education is to disseminate knowledge and understanding. It helps individuals gain an insight into the happenings of the world around them. It also sensitizes them about their roles and responsibility in society.

In a fast-changing world, education plays a pivotal role in our lives – personal, professional and societal. By keeping us aware and updated about what’s happening around us.

girls on desk looking at notebook

Different types of education vary depending on the country or region. In general, there are three main levels of education: primary, secondary, and tertiary (or higher). 

Primary education is typically compulsory and provides basic reading, writing, and recognising skills. It usually starts at around the age of five or six and lasts for five to six years.

Secondary education builds on primary education and typically lasts for another four to five years. Tertiary, or higher, education is not compulsory but is often necessary to pursue further studies or enter certain professions. It can last anywhere from one year to several years, depending on the program of study.

There are many different philosophies about what the role of education should be in society. Some believe that it should primarily focus on academics and cognitive development, while others place more importance on social and emotional growth.

There is no single answer that is right for everyone, as each individual has unique needs and goals. However, it is quite vivid that education plays a significant role in the formation of a developed nation.

Primary Function of Education

The primary function of education is to empower individuals and prepare them for life. It helps us develop our skills and abilities so that we can be successful in our careers and contribute to society. Education also teaches us how to think critically, solve problems, and make informed decisions.

What is the Importance of Education in Society

Education helps an individual in making informed decisions. It equips them with the essential skills and knowledge to be successful in their chosen field. The role of education in society is empowering an individual. It helps people to understand the world around them and their role in it. Moreover, it also instils in them a sense of social responsibility so that they can contribute meaningfully to society.

The role of education in human capital formation is significant, as education improves productivity and prosperity of a society. The economic returns of education are higher for countries with more educated populations.

Education is the most important tool for social and economic development. It helps in reducing poverty, inequality and unemployment. Moreover, education also plays a critical role in empowering women and girls. Thus, it can be said that education is the cornerstone of any progressive society.

The role of education is not just limited to shaping our personal lives but so far it is meant to shape the entire world. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi , “The role of education is to change the heart of man.”

What is the Importance of Educational Institutions in Society?

Educational institutions play a very important role in imparting education to the students. They act as a medium through which knowledge and understanding are disseminated to the students. Moreover, they also help inculcate social values and ethics in the students.

Apart from imparting formal education, educational institutions also help in the personality development of the students. At educational institutions, the students are also made aware of the ethical values in society. Educational institutions help students to learn the foundational skill sets which later becomes foundational knowledge to acquire the professional knowledge to contribute towards the economy of society.

It is said that the role of educational institutions in society is twofold – to educate and to socialize. They play a significant role in moulding the future of our society.

The role of Education in Society is instrumental to grow human resources. An educated citizen is the greatest asset for any democratic society. A social revolution comes through educated, politically conscious and socially responsible people.

But still, there is a critical concern about the basic educational infrastructure in developing countries. It should be noted that nearly one-fourth of the Indian population still lacks access to basic educational activities. Moreover, the pandemic amplified the existing disparity of the basic education in the society, predominantly has hit hard in rural demographics. 

Now look at this data: India spends nearly 4.6% of its GDP on education, which is much less than most of the G20 nations. Hence developing countries invest more on quality education, innovation, and world class training for teachers.

The need of the hour is to provide inexpensive and accessible education to meet the aspirational value of Indian students. A robust education is the key to the growth and innovation of society, also to bringing peace and harmony as well.

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what is role for education

How Education Helps In Building Presence

Did you know that Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, one of India’s most successful businessmen is a college dropout? He dropped out…

How Education Helps In Building Presence

Did you know that Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, one of India’s most successful businessmen is a college dropout? He dropped out of Stanford University to join his father’s business. Like him, many successful people across the world are college dropouts. They make us mull over the question—what is the importance of education in our life?

Education And Its Importance

Most of us are under the impression that the role of education is to help us gain knowledge from schools and colleges. However, the power of education isn’t limited to acquiring knowledge only from formal learning institutes. Earning a formal degree isn’t a necessary step to receiving an education. Learning can happen anywhere. In other words, education is the ability to think with or without the help of classrooms. It helps us apply the knowledge we’ve acquired in the world and understand the value of life.

The power of education is so strong that it can last a lifetime. Moreover, education is a lifelong process because there is no end to learning new things and acquiring new knowledge. The role of education is to help us build opinions and have different perspectives in our lives. It not only helps us improve our lives; it also helps us utilize our knowledge to improve the lives of others.

Power Of Education

Education forms character strengthens minds and makes us independent beings. It helps us exercise our intelligence and put our potential to optimal use. ( sapns2 ) By championing the importance of good education, we open doors to a better world. You learn how to stand out in a crowd and articulate your visions clearly. Education helps you create a unique purpose.

Harappa Education’s Building Presence course is designed to help you put your education skills to the best use. The ‘Building a Brand’ model will help you learn the benefits of creating and chasing your unique purpose. The TEA (Trust, Emotional Intelligence and Authenticity) Skills framework will help you communicate your ideas with people in a compelling way while exhibiting confidence.

Importance Of Education In Our Life

The role of education is to teach us how to conduct ourselves in life by giving us a conscience. It makes us more certain and confident about our long-term goals in life.

Here are a few facts highlighting the importance of good education:

1. Spreads Awareness

Education helps develop a conscience and often helps us differentiate between right and wrong. The role of education is to question everything and not take anything at its face value. An educated mind usually pursues the logic behind actions and decisions.

2. Drives Progress

It’s because of the power of education that we can access a variety of opportunities.  From the industrial revolution days to the present technologically advanced era, education has helped us make the leap. Discoveries, inventions, and all social/technological progress are proof of embracing the importance of education in our life.

3. Improves Lives

The role of education is to help us gain better control of our lives. If you want to change your life for the better, education helps you do that. For example, you decide to start your own company. The power of education will help you reach this realization. It gives you the confidence to use your knowledge and skill-sets.

4. Empowers People

Education improves our decision-making capabilities and gives us the courage to stand up for our beliefs. The importance of education in our life is rooted in real-time examples like women standing up against domestic violence or transgender communities fighting for civil rights.

5.  Changes The World

We’ve already established that education is not only helping us but also others around us. You’re better aware of your rights and responsibilities as a citizen. If you feel empowered, you’ll want to empower others. To make better judgments and use your skills to make the world a better place is the power of education and its importance.

They say, “Instruction ends in the schoolroom but education only ends in life”. Let’s keep reminding ourselves of the importance of education in our lives and continue making the world a better place.

Explore the skills & topics such as  Social Skills ,  How to Improve Social Skills ,  Conversation Skills  & Key  Skills for a Job  from our Harappa Diaries blog section and be workplace ready.


Role of Education in Society, Nation Building and Importance_1.1

Role of Education in Society, Nation Building, and Importance

Education is a essential tool for developing skills like decision-making, mental agility, problem-solving, etc. It also breeds creativity and innovation. Check details on Role of Education here.

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Table of Contents

Role of Education

Education is an essential tool for developing skills like decision-making, mental agility, problem-solving, and logical thinking. It also breeds creativity and innovation. In other words, Education is the transmission of knowledge, skills, and character traits. As BR Ambedkar said: “ Education is the manifestation of Perfection already in Man “.  He also believed that “Education is that which makes men fearless, teaches unity, makes understand their birth rights and teaches them to struggle and fight for freedom”.

According to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan , where scientific knowledge ends, the realm of mystery begins. The world of scientific facts and the world of values is different. If education does not build wisdom and humanity in the hearts and minds of men, all its professional, scientific and technological triumphs will be meaningless. Therefore on the Birth date of  S Radhakrishnan, we celebrate Teachers Day.

Role of Education in Nation-Building

Education shapes a person, just as people are essential in determining a nation’s standing. Every nation is founded on education since it promotes a particular level of knowledge, morals, and awareness and is crucial to the development of technology. Greater literacy rates lead to quicker GDP growth and lower unemployment rates in a nation.

At present, nations are coping with a number of problems, such as a pandemic, terrorism, global warming, poverty, and gender inequality. Whether they are residential or day schools, they are essential in forming both pupils and the nation. Everyone who has access to a top-notch education can contribute to resolving these issues and enhancing living circumstances all around the nation.

Role of Education in Society

Education has many positive effects on society, from enhancing quality of life to fostering the growth of brilliant people with the potential to transform society. Because it provides possibilities for learning knowledge and skills that are genuinely altering the world, education is crucial to society. Not only is the availability of high-quality education crucial for individual growth but also for the growth of society as a whole. The important contributions of education to the society are as follows:

  • A more tolerant society
  • Better quality of life for vulnerable populations
  • Reducing poverty
  • Improving the nation’s health
  • Reducing crime
  • Improving social life
  • Developing talents that change the face of humanity
  • A large number of educated people improves the life of a community

Role of Education in Economic Development

Education is one of the most important aspects of development. It has a significant impact on a country’s economic prosperity. No country can advance its economy in the long run without making significant investments in its human capital. People’s perspectives on themselves and the world around them are widened by education. It improves their quality of life and offers a wide range of social advantages to both individuals and society. It is essential for assuring social and economic advancement.

It promotes entrepreneurship, technical advancements, women’s empowerment, social development, health awareness, and other areas where economic development can be accelerated. It also aids in the development of human capital, productivity, creativity, and poverty reduction. The following are the important contribution of education to India’s economic development.

  • The creation of Human capital is directly related to human development.
  • Educated and Skilled labour will help to increase industrial productivity and reduce wastage.
  • Education, in every sense, is one of the most important aspects of attaining long-term economic growth through human capital investment which will help in Poverty Reduction
  • Increased women empowerment will lead to the high speed of economic growth.
  • Social Development from a dark place to a place of optimism.
  • Increased awareness of Health, and reduced mortality at all levels.

Role of Education in Human Capital Formation

A more educated society can support a higher level of development than an uneducated one. Education leads to increased income and productivity, which together lead to a more fulfilling existence. In addition to assisting with individual progress, it also advances society as a whole. Education may boost value and improve cultural diversity. Here are a few of the contributions education makes to the development of human capital:

  • Education teaches us to care and be empathetic, not only towards others but also to ourselves.
  • Education promotes the growth of a country’s economy.
  • An educated society always stays ahead and is more progressive than a society with low quality of education and educational standards
  • Education also provides the opportunity to enhance the cultural richness.
  • Education plays a role not only in the growth of an individual but also in the overall progress of society.

Role of Education in Skill Development

The development of skills includes education as a key component. It gives people the knowledge and abilities they need to excel in both their personal and professional lives. Education is a critical component of skill development since it keeps people abreast of emerging trends and technologies. The significance of education in skill development can be seen in the following ways:

  • Knowledge Enhancement
  • Competence Improvement
  • Increased Employability
  • Enhances creativity
  • Encourages independent thinking

Role of Education in Sustainable Development

An important instrument for attaining a more sustainable future is high-quality education. This was emphasized at the UN World Summit in Johannesburg in 2002, where it was said that reforming the nation’s educational programs was essential for achieving sustainable development. Assuring environmental protection and conservation, advancing social fairness, and fostering economic sustainability are all goals of education for sustainable development (ESD), which fosters the development of the knowledge, skills, understanding, values, and behaviours necessary to create a sustainable world.

Environmental education, which aimed to equip individuals with the knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and behaviours necessary to protect the environment, was a significant influence on the development of the ESD idea. ESD aims to empower individuals to make choices and take action that will enhance our quality of life without endangering the environment.

Role of Education in India

Every human being has a fundamental right to education, which plays a significant role in the growth of a country—India, the second-most populous nation in the world, with a literacy rate of about 74%. Despite the fact that several states in India have poor literacy rates, the country’s overall literacy rate is still increasing.

Given how crucial education is to the growth and development of any nation, Kerala leads all Indian states in terms of its rate of literacy, coming in at 94%, followed by Lakshadweep (91.85%), Mizoram (91.33%), and Goa (88.70%). However, Bihar, with a literacy rate of 61.80%, has the lowest literacy rate, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, with a rating of 65.38%, Rajasthan, with a rate of 66.11%, and Jharkhand, with a rate of 66.41%. These figures on the literacy rate make it very evident that India’s educational system has to be improved.

Any nation’s youth holds the key to its future. Youth will be better able to secure a bright future for both themselves and the nation if greater chances are provided and an effective education and learning system is established. Hence the Role of Teacher becomes essential for promoting quality education in the country.

Importance of Education for India

  • Earnings rise by about 10% for every extra year of education.
  • The gap between workers from wealthy and poor backgrounds in working poverty might be reduced by 39% if they obtained the same education.
  • Without at least 40% of its adult population being read, no country in the world has ever experienced rapid and steady economic growth.
  • From a mother’s lifestyle before giving birth to their likelihood of contracting ailments in later life, education benefits people’s health throughout their entire lives.
  • Prenatal vitamins and other helpful pregnancy strategies are more likely to be used by women with at least six years of education, which lowers the risk of maternal or newborn mortality.
  • Education has been shown to benefit girls and women more than boys. There is no other factor that comes close to the personal and economic empowerment that girls experience from school.

Role of Education UPSC

Education and skill development play a significant role in the broader field of human capital. Data on literacy from the 2011 Census give us a fast overview of the state of schooling today. However, literacy is not the only aspect of education. The RTE Act serves as the foundation of Indian education. However, it is the numerous education policies that have been mapped out since Independence that have contributed to the historical growth of the Indian educational system. These policies appear to have produced a variety of consequences. There is a lot of room for development still.

The Kasturirangan report, or the design of a new education policy, is the most recent development in the field of education. It perfectly encapsulates the urgent need for educational reform. India’s contemporary educational system urgently needs to be updated. The draft New Education Policy (NEP) is the ideal time to reflect on the country’s past history, accomplishments, and concerns while also outlining a cutting-edge educational strategy for India in the twenty-first century.

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Role of Education FAQs

What is the role of education.

Education helps you develop critical skills like decision-making, mental agility, problem-solving, and logical thinking.

What is the role of education in development?

Education becomes a catalyst in a person's personality development. It introduces a person to different perspectives and thus, helps in providing a clear and broad vision to an individual.

What is the role of education in society?

Education develops human personality, thoughts, dealing with others and prepares people for life experiences.

What is the role of education in social change?

Education contributes to social change in several ways. It fosters critical thinking, nurtures democratic values, enhances economic development, promotes social mobility, and facilitates cultural shifts.

What is the role of education in culture change?

Education plays a crucial role in driving cultural change and shaping societies. Education and cultural change are related.

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Functionalist Perspective on Education

Charlotte Nickerson

Research Assistant at Harvard University

Undergraduate at Harvard University

Charlotte Nickerson is a student at Harvard University obsessed with the intersection of mental health, productivity, and design.

Learn about our Editorial Process

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Editor-in-Chief for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

Functionalists view education as a system that fulfills crucial societal needs. It transmits cultural values and knowledge (socialization), prepares individuals for various roles (social integration), promotes order and stability (social control), and equips individuals with workforce skills (economic development).

Key Takeaways

  • Functionalism contends that all of the roles and institutions in a society are essential to its function. Although functionalist ideas have circulated since antiquity, Durkheim was the first to formalize a functionalist perspective on sociology.
  • Durkheim considered education to reflect the needs and customs and beliefs of the society providing it. To him, it served an essential function in instilling societal values and socializing children. He also considered education to teach skills essential for establishing the division of labor in society.
  • Schultz, another functionalist, considered education to be an investment that people made in themselves in order to gain access to higher-paying and higher-status jobs.

close up of a student's hand writing on a paper in an exam

The Functionalist View of Society

Functionalism is what sociologists call a structural-consensus theory. By structural, sociologists mean that functionalists argue that there exists a social structure that shapes individual behavior through the process of socialization.

Functionalists believe that all of the institutions, roles, norms, and so on of a society serve a purpose beneficial, if not indispensable for, the long-term survival of the society.

The theory rose to prominence in the works of 19th-century sociologists who viewed societies as organisms.

Emile Durkheim, for instance, argued that it was necessary to understand the needs of the social organism to which social phenomena correspond (Pope, 1975).

1. Socialization and Social Solidarity (Durkheim)

Emile Durkheim believed that schools are essential for imprinting shared social values into children. The education system meets a functional pre-request of society by passing on the culture and values of society.

This is achieved through the hidden curriculum and PSHE lessons. This helps to build social solidarity as it teaches students the core values of society.

Durkheim discussed the phenomenon of education as a social fact. He considered education social in nature, origins, and functions. He opposed the idea of one perfect educational system for all societies.

Instead, Durkheim argues that education varied in each stage of human civilization because each society must have a system of education corresponding to its own needs and reflecting the customs and beliefs of day-to-day life. Thus, education can be studied through the lens of sociology (Durkheim, 1956).

Durkheim defined education as the influence exercised by adult generations on those that are not yet ready for social life, intended to arouse and develop in children a number of physical, intellectual, and moral states demanded of them by both the political society as a whole and the special niche of society that he is destined to occupy (Durkheim, 1956).

By this definition, Durkheim believed that education methodologically socialized the younger generation. It did so by performing two major functions in advanced industrial societies – transmitting the shared values of society and teaching the specialized skills for an economy based on a division of labor (Durkheim, 1956).

Education, in Durkheim’s view, created a sufficient amount of homogeneity for society to survive through instilling a sense of social solidarity in the individual. This involves instilling a sense of belonging to wider society, a sense of commitment to the importance of working toward society’s goals, and a feeling that the

Durkheim argued that, to become attached to society, children must feel intimately connected  and committed to the society. He believed that teaching history in particular accomplished this (Durkheim, 1956).

Teaching Social Roles

Durkheim also argued that schools in complex societies teach how people can cooperate with people who are neither their kin nor friends in a way that neither the family or friendship can.

Thus, school is the only institution that can prepare children for membership in wider society by enforcing a set of rules applied to all children.

2. The Division of Labor

Durkheim argued that education’s crucial function in an advanced industrial economy is the teaching of specialized skills required for a complex division of labor .

In traditional, pre-industrialised societies, skills could be passed on through family or direct apprenticeships. This means that formal education in school was not necessary.

However, because factory-based production involves the application of advanced scientific knowledge, years of formal education in schools became more necessary.

Education was also essential to modern societies in Durkheim’s view because social solidarity is largely based on the interdependence of specialized skills.

Just as social solidarity is based on cooperation between people with different skill sets, school serves as an ideal environment for children to learn to work and socialize with people from different backgrounds.

3. Developing Human Capital (Schultz)

Another functionalist perspective on education is that of T.W. Schultz. Schultz viewed the function of education as the development of human capital.

Investment in education benefits the wider economy, as education can provide properly trained, qualified and flexible workforce.

To Schultz, human capital was the acquisition of all of the useful skills and knowledge needed for a deliberate investment. Schultz considered much of the investment that people do to be for human capital.

For example, direct expenditures on education and health, as well as earnings foregone by mature students attending school and workers doing training on-the-job are all examples of human capitals.

In this view, education is an investment in human capital that people make in order to have access to better paying jobs, spend less time in the unemployment market, and make speedier transitions to their desired careers (Wahrenburg & Weldi, 2007).

4. Role Allocation (Davis and Moore)

The education system provides a means to selecting and sifting people into the social hierarchy. In a meritocratic society access to jobs and power, wealth and status are directly linked to educational achievement.

Davis and Moore examined education through the lens of role allocation. They believed that education selects talented individuals and allocates them to the most important roles in society.

For example, the higher monetary and status rewards for those who have the jobs of, say, a doctor or a pilot encourage competition.

Accordingly, Davis and Moore believed that education sifts and sorts people according to their ability (Grandjean & Bean, 1975).

5. Bridge between Family and Society

Parsons believed that schools provide a link between the family and wider society which allows students to move from the ascribed status and particularistic values of the home to the meritocratic and universalistic values of wider society.

Parsons viewed education as being part of meritocracy . In a meritocratic system, everyone has equality of opportunity. Achievements and rewards are based on effort and ability — achieved status — over the situations of how someone was born and raised — acquired status.

Consequently, education instills values of competition, equality, and individualism.

In this view, education is a secondary agent of socialization, creating a bridge between family and society. Within the family, children are judged by the standards of their parents.

However, in wider society, the individual is treated and judged in terms of universal standards that are applied to everyone, regardless of their kinship ties (Parsons, 1937).

Similarly, the child’s status is ascribed, or fixed by birth, in the family.

Meanwhile, status in adult life is, in some part, achieved. Individuals, for instance, achieve their occupational skills. In both cases, it is necessary for children to move from the standards and status of their family to the universal standards and achieve status in society (Parsons, 1937).

School, Parsons argued, prepares children for this transition, representing society in a microcosm. According to Parsons, schools also install the values of achievement and equality of opportunity.

These values have important functions in advanced industrialized societies, which require a motivated and highly skilled workforce.

Both low and high achievers in the school system will see the system as just and fair because status is achieved in a situation where everyone has an equal chance of success (Parsons, 1937).

Criticisms of the Functionalist Perspective on Education

Functionalist perspectives on education have been criticized for several reasons:

General Criticism

Firstly, functionalists ignore dysfunctional aspects of education, such as negative conflict.  Sociologists have also noted that the functionalist view is more applicable in societies with a single dominant and shared culture.

In multicultural societies with, say, different ethnic groups with different cultures and values, it may be difficult to reconcile differences through education.

Furthermore, functionalists tend to assume that education successfully socializes individuals. However, numerous studies suggest that not all pupils conform to the values taught by school.

Marxists have put forth a notable critique of functionalism. Bowles and Gintis (1976), for example, argued that education perpetuated a meritocracy myth — that one’s educational achievements and failures are solely one’s fault and based on the quality of one’s efforts — when, in reality, factors such as race and class heavily influence one’s opportunities and achievement.

Feminists have taken another Marxist idea: that of the hidden curriculum — the idea that schools indoctrinate values not only by what is taught explicitly, but what is taught by the structure of the school itself. They have argued that this hidden curriculum maintains and reinforces patriarchy , not meritocracy (Acker, 1987).

Outside of Marxism, the sociologist Wong criticized functionalism for seeing children as passive puppets of socialization when the process is much more complex and involves teacher-pupil relationships.

There is also, ultimately, a weak link between educational achievement and economic success (Wahrenburg & Weldi, 2007).

Criticism of Durkheim

There are several reasons why scholars have criticized Durkheim’s functionalist perspective on education. For example, postmodernists may criticize Durkheim for his assumption that society needs shared values.

For example, in many countries, such as the United States, it is debatable as to whether or not there is single culture, and there are communities that are largely cut off from the mainstream.

Marxists, meanwhile, have criticized the relationship between school and work. #

While Durkheim sees school as a fundamentally neutral institution that transmits values and skills to individuals in a way that enables economies to function, Marxists have argued that schools teach proletariat children to be passive and submit to authority, making them easier to exploit later in life (Bowles & Gintis, 2011).

Criticism of Parsons

The main criticisms of Parsons’ view on education come from Marxism , and particularly the idea that schools are meritocratic. In reality, even in situations where schools may treat pupils the same way, inequalities within the class structure result in unequal opportunities.

For example, a working-class child may have lesser access to quality education than the child of upper-class parents, especially when the latter provide their kin with services such as tutoring and enrollment in elite educational institutions and preparatory schools.

Ultimately, this results in a widening of pre-existing class inequality, with the parents of the bourgeoisie being able to maintain their hold over intergenerational wealth by giving their children access to stronger economic opportunities through higher educational achievement (Morrow & Tours, 1995).

Acker, S. (1987). Feminist theory and the study of gender and education. International review of education, 33 (4), 419-435.

Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (1976). Schooling in capitalist America: Educational reform and the contradictions of economic life . Haymarket Books.

Davis, K., & Moore, W. E. (1945). Pp. 47-53 in Class, Status and Power, edited by R. Bendix and SM Lipset.

Durkheim, E. (1956). Education and sociology . Simon and Schuster.

Grandjean, B. D., & Bean, F. D. (1975). The Davis-Moore theory and perceptions of stratification: some relevant evidence. Social Forces, 54 (1), 166-180.

Morrow, R. A., & Torres, C. A. (1995). Social theory and education: A critique of theories of social and cultural reproduction . SUNY Press.

Parsons, T. (1937). Remarks on Education and the Professions. The International Journal of Ethics, 47 (3), 365-369.

Pope, W. (1975). Durkheim as a Functionalist. Sociological Quarterly, 16 (3), 361-379.

Wahrenburg, M., & Weldi, M. (2007). Return on investment in higher education: Evidence for different subjects, degrees and gender in Germany . Johann Wolfgang Goethe Univ., Chair of Banking and Finance.

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what is role for education

10 Important Roles Of Technology In Education

  • Post Author: edmonger
  • Post published: July 28, 2021
  • Post Category: Ed Tech Solutions / Trends and Insights
  • Post Comments: 3 Comments

We can’t deny the fact that the developed world we see today can never be possible without the evaluation of technology. Even the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) promotes the Important roles of technology in education. Only through a technology driven education system, students have innovative learning solutions.

In this pandemic era of Covid-19, it would have never been possible for teachers to make students efficient learners at home if technology was not introduced. In addition, technology allows students to learn more effectively via online educational tools.

What is the Importance of Technology in Education?

The vital roles of technology in education is that teachers can serve all study material so that students can better understand the topics and solve the problem easier via Edtech. Educational technology approaches modern classroom / Smart classes, which primarily focus on improvising the performance of every student.

To understand the Importance of Technology in Education and how a new generation impacts the change in the whole education scenario, one must go through this article beneath the last section.

Why Technology Is Important In Education?

The important roles of technology in education lead to improve quality of studying; better communication facilitates skills and knowledge to students. Apart from that, with E-learning technology tools, students can access study material from any geographical area, wherever they go.

In spite of having various higher technology driven Education tools, schools are still using the pen/ pencil-and-paper methods for learning. However, via EdTech, the whole education structure has been revolutionized, enriching the learning process at just one fingertip of students.

Imperative Roles of Technology in Education

Here we have created this article to make you aware of the Important roles of technology in education for students as well as parents and teachers, have a glance –

  • Promotes Effective Educational system 

Undoubtedly, since technology is introduced in the classroom, it encourages the overall growth of students. Technology is a robust process to promote a healthy educational system worldwide. The Most Important roles of technology in education makes learning more accessible, exciting and enjoyable. The development of technological advancements in education leads to enhance knowledge and skills of students. 

  • Technology Helps Students Learn Much And Better

Any of us still wondering that how important is technology in Education? Thus, let me inform you that a survey has proved that digital learning technology helps most students improve their grades. Furthermore, through technology-based E-learning, students can learn more and better from different resources without depending on an institution or an instructor. 

The most important thing is that technology helps learners more easily in their field. Such as, Students can convert or type text in handwritten style with an online text to handwriting converter tool.This tool allows them to share their educational notes in handwriting style. Which makes it more appealing and eye-catching and also plays an important role in the modern age.

  • Improvise better Communication and Collaboration

We all know that the existence of technology has improved communication and collaboration to a better level. Likewise, Educational technology also boosted communication and collaboration between teachers and students and students/ parents, teachers/parents, and peers. 

Teachers can interact with students to clear their doubts and make e-learning more effective. Technology enables one-on-one interaction in the classroom online.

  • Provide Teachers More Resources  

Educational technology provides teachers plenty of e-learning tools like Gamification, AR / VR, smartboards etc. Through Advanced modern technology of education, teachers can use various digital tools to magnify learning opportunities for students. 

E-learning solution technologies enable teachers to improve their teaching skills. From technology, teachers can instruct well through video lessons, microlearning, attractive infographics etc. Moreover, teachers can engage the students by delivering online tests and different courses.

  • Learning At Own Pace

The important roles of technology in education is to students as they can learn at any time and from anywhere. With the technology-based E-learning process, one can study in their comfort zone. Students can play, pause and re-watch complex topics using online educational applications until the concept is clear. 

Also Check – Importance of Online Teaching

  • More Opportunities For Online Project-Based Learning

Most schools are opting now for online Project-Based Learning instead of wasting time on pen paper-based projects. Edtech solutions have also made Project-Based learning much more accessible and convenient for students. Now, one can create presentations using Google Classroom, Google Docs, PPT and Slides, etc. Through online Project-Based Learning, students use their skills and knowledge up to the next level to complete an assignment.

  • Personalized Learning Opportunities

The importance Of Technology in Education is not just limited to efficient learning, but students can also have their personalized learning opportunities. Availability of more resources/ material 24*7 to students allows them to personalize learning better. We all know that not all students have the same learning frequency; thus, personalized learning is considered. Personalize learning is also known as self-paced learning, which can help individuals optimize the quantity of material according to their capability.

  • Efficient Problem Solving Stuff

Well, studying without having any doubts can be possible only through modern intelligent classes. Video modules of every concept help each of you to cut out the doubts. So, If any problem arises in any topic, just go through Problem Solving material and clear all doubts.

  • Better Understanding through Graphics

Technology has evaluated the learning process through video graphics, which helps the human mind understand the concept faster and remember it for a long time. This can be only possible because of the visual information system. Using VR technology in education, students can retain knowledge by 25% to 60%. Using VR educational technology like gamification, mobile learning, microlearning, visual graphics etc. students can experience fun and learning at the same time and keep engaged with their studies. 

  • Save Time And Money

With the availability of more study material via E-learning technology, the student can spend less money on other materials. Even nowadays, many schools are more focusing on buying online study material, which is cheaper and convenient for storage. Teachers can save time and money by teaching students via advanced educational, technological systems like augmented reality and virtual reality programs free of cost online and helps one to learn and understand faster.

Challenges of Educational Technology

Besides various Importance Of Technology in Education, India still lacks somewhere to explore the technological educational system. Somehow, we are facing Challenges in establishing modern Educational Technology in the schools. 

More screen study time may also lead to some severe health issues. For example, continues use of computers, tablets, and phones for studies may cause back pain, neck pain, blurred vision and more.

In Online classes, teachers cannot monitor every student; this makes them lure them towards cheating. The latest Technology encourages the cheating process among students by sharing test sheets, copy-pasting each other answers, Google answers during the online class test.

Impact of Technology in Education

In today’s world, we all are interlinked with technology everywhere in our daily lives. So why not use Technology in Education. Technology is the only tool that helps to improve the education system in different ways. From teachers to students, technology leaves a vast impact on education. Modern EdTech makes education more flexible and perceptive. Various technology driven education tools have introduced free online resources, personalized learning materials, more engaging content, and a better understanding of visuals and opportunities for advanced learning.

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what is role for education

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  • Education, training and skills
  • School curriculum

The purpose of education

Schools Minister Nick Gibb addresses the Education Reform Summit.

Nick Gibb at Education Reform Summit

Education reform is the great social justice cause of our times. If we are to deliver a fairer society, in which opportunity is shared more widely, we must secure the highest standards of education for all young people, regardless of their background.

This is the commitment which has been at the heart of the government’s programme of reform. It is a pleasure to speak at a conference today with so many dedicated professionals and experts who share this belief, and have guided and implemented the changes we have introduced.

Today, thanks to the hard work of thousands of teachers, 100,000 more 6-year-olds are on track to become confident readers as a result of our focus on phonics.

Two hundred thousand fewer pupils are persistently absent from school compared to 5 years ago.

And over a million more children now attend a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school than in 2010.

what is role for education

But too many children still do not receive the standard of education to which they are entitled. In this new Parliament, we will continue to support teachers to raise standards and challenge underperformance.

Two weeks ago, we confirmed the next steps in our programme of structural reform, by setting out more details of how we will support and turn around schools which are ‘coasting’ or failing through the Education and Adoption Bill .

And we have announced our intention that 11-year-olds starting secondary school in September will be the first cohort to benefit from a core academic curriculum when they reach GCSE .

Purpose of education

Today, though, I would like to take a step back from the details of our reforms and turn to a broader question: what is the purpose of education?

Education is the engine of our economy, it is the foundation of our culture, and it’s an essential preparation for adult life. Delivering on our commitment to social justice requires us to place these 3 objectives at the heart of our education system.

We all have a responsibility to educate the next generation of informed citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said, and instilling in them a love of knowledge and culture for their own sake. But education is also about the practical business of ensuring that young people receive the preparation they need to secure a good job and a fulfilling career, and have the resilience and moral character to overcome challenges and succeed.

The government’s economic record is strong. Last year, GDP grew by 3% - the strongest growth since 2006, and the fastest in the G7 . At the end of 2014, employment was at its highest-ever level, with 1.85 million more people in work since the coalition government entered office. Business investment has increased by 25.6% since the first quarter of 2010.

But the data on productivity has been mixed. In line with other advanced economies, productivity fell in the financial crisis, though it has since been increasing steadily. The UK does, however, have a long-term productivity challenge. Output per hour in the UK was 17 percentage points below the G7 average in 2013. We are addressing this gap, by rebalancing our economy, investing in our infrastructure, and building a competitive tax system.

But perhaps most important of all, we must ensure that more people have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a demanding economy. Here too, our long-term performance has lagged behind those of our international competitors. Our 15-year-olds are on average 3 years behind their peers in Shanghai in mathematics and we are the only OECD country whose young people do not have better levels of literacy or numeracy than their grandparents’ generation.

Our ambitious programme of reform is addressing this legacy, and this starts by getting the basics right. Reading underpins a child’s academic performance throughout their school career. In 2014, only 1 in 3 pupils who had just reached the current expected standard in English when in key stage 2, achieved 5 good GCSEs including English and mathematics. By contrast, almost 3 in 4 of those with a high level 4 in English achieved this GCSE standard.

The importance of strong literacy skills remain long after a young person has left school or formal education. Adults with good literacy skills (the equivalent of a good English Language GCSE or better) are much more likely to be in work than those with lower levels of literacy: 83% compared to 55%. Data from the recent OECD Survey of Adult Skills show that unemployed adults are twice as likely to have weak literacy skills as those in full-time employment.

We recognised the strong evidence demonstrating that systematic synthetic phonics is the most effective way to teach children to read. In 2012, we therefore introduced the year 1 phonics screening check to help teachers identify pupils falling behind with their phonic knowledge, who may benefit from additional help. We are supporting schools to establish phonics partnerships to help them further improve the quality of their phonics teaching. Each of the successful groups will be led by a school that achieves excellence in teaching early reading. The partnerships will receive £10,000 to improve the quality of phonics teaching; they will develop models that can be used by other schools, and share knowledge and resources that come out of their work.

A basic mastery in mathematics is also essential to success in our modern economy. We have learnt from the best international systems, launching the highly successful teacher exchange with Shanghai . Our new network of maths hubs across England is now raising standards by helping primary schools to deliver the highly effective Asian-style mastery approach and strengthen teaching through the use of high-quality textbooks.

In secondary school, the new mathematics GCSE places greater emphasis on mathematical reasoning and the application of maths; and includes new content to better support transition to the A level - on, for example, rates of change and quadratic functions.

We have taken the important step of introducing ‘core maths’ qualifications for students with a good GCSE in the subject at age 16 but who don’t continue to the A level - to enable them to study this essential subject beyond GCSE .

Employers want to see many more young people entering the labour market with high-level skills in STEM subjects. I’m pleased to support the Your Life campaign which aims to encourage more young people - girls and boys - to continue with these subjects to A level and beyond.

For too long, the quality of technical and vocational education in England has lagged behind that of our international competitors - as a result, employers have sometimes struggled to find staff with the skills they need to grow their business and create jobs. In 2011, we asked Professor Alison Wolf to review vocational education , and have acted swiftly to implement her recommendations. We have removed over 3,000 low-value qualifications from performance tables and introduced tech levels and technical certificates, which set rigorous new standards for technical qualifications.

We have worked with universities and employers to open 30 university technical colleges , which combine the study of technical subjects, including engineering and life sciences, with the core academic qualifications that employers demand. We are committed to having a UTC within reach of every city.

Equipping young people with the knowledge and skills they need to secure a place at a good university, start an apprenticeship, or find their first job, is a fundamental responsibility of all of us working in education. But the purpose of education is, of course, far broader.

As we all know, education has an intrinsic value as the hallmark of a civilised society and the foundation of our culture. Matthew Arnold was a great education reformer of the 19th century. He is best remembered now as a cultural critic, but he also spent 35 years as an HMI , the last 2 of which as Chief Inspector. In ‘Culture and Anarchy’, his best-known work, he articulated the liberal ideal of a high-quality education for all, which:

[…]seeks to do away with classes; to make the best that has been known and thought in the world current everywhere; to make all men live in an atmosphere of sweetness and light, where they may use ideas, as it uses them itself, freely, - nourished, and not bound by them.

This ideal must be reflected in reality if we are to build an education system with social justice at its heart.

Jonathan Rose provides a masterful account of our long tradition of the autodidact - of individuals from all backgrounds staking their claim to our cultural inheritance - in ‘The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes’. This tradition spans from the 14th century Lollards, suppressed by the church because their ‘vernacular Bible threatened to break a clerical monopoly on knowledge’.

It includes Charles Campbell, a Scottish cotton-spinner born in 1793. He set aside a few pennies of his weekly wage of 8 shillings to pay for a library membership. He was a member of a club of 12 artisans and mechanics who met weekly to discuss literary topics. Their goal was not economic self-improvement - it was a deeper intellectual life. Campbell wrote:

[…]the lover of learning… unbends the wing of his imagination, and solaces his weary mind in the delightful gardens of the classic muse of poetry and music.

The tradition of course continues today. But the truth is that the successful autodidact, finding their own way through literature, history and culture, with little formal education, is a rare exception. For the vast majority, a high-quality education in school is essential - a ‘love of learning’ is not sufficient.

Engaging with a text firstly requires an ability to read. This includes decoding skill, but also reading fluency and speed of reading built up through practice over many years. But reading also demands background knowledge - of vocabulary and of context assumed by the author - assumed knowledge. Factual knowledge is essential for reading comprehension.

Mark Twain wrote, disdainfully, that:

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Daniel Willingham, the American cognitive scientist, is clear that this denial of the importance of schools to culture and imagination is inconsistent with the scientific evidence. Willingham writes:

I don’t know why some great thinkers (who undoubtedly knew many facts) took delight in denigrating schools, often depicting them as factories for the useless memorisation of information… I for one don’t need brilliant, highly capable minds telling me (and my children) how silly it is to know things.

We must resist attempts to divide culture from knowledge, or to suggest that a focus on a core academic curriculum in school makes it more difficult to develop our young people into creative, engaged citizens.

The core academic subjects at school are the primary colours of an educated person’s palette, enabling them to read more, not just within those subjects but also the subjects that emanate from them: history and maths underpin economics; the study of English links to drama; paleontology combines chemistry and biology.

We have also continued to champion the importance of the arts in schools. Music and art and design are statutory subjects in the national curriculum for 5- to 14-year-olds and the national curriculum also ensures that pupils study drama and dance.

Over the 2012 to 2016 period we have spent over £460 million in a diverse portfolio of music and arts education programmes designed to improve access to the arts for all children regardless of their background and to develop talent across the country. These include support for: music education hubs , the Sorrell Foundation’s National Art and Design Saturday Clubs, the British Film Institute’s ‘Film Academy’, Music for Youth’s School Proms, the National Youth Dance Company, and support for the Shakespeare Schools Festival.

The Music and Dance Scheme , funded by the department, enables our most talented young people to receive a world-class education in our top music and dance schools. This year we are spending £29 million to ensure that the children who are able to benefit from this specialist education are those with the most talent, not those whose parents can afford to pay the fees. Just last week, I had the privilege to attend the Royal Ballet School’s End of Year Performance, and the virtuosity on display was astonishing.

Preparation for adult life

These 2 purposes of education - to grow our economy and nurture our culture - are vital. But I believe there is a third, very practical purpose to education. Adult life today is complicated, and we owe it to young people to ensure that they have the character and sense of moral purpose to succeed.

There is now very clear evidence that schools can make a significant contribution to their pupils’ achievement by finding opportunities to instil key character traits, including persistence, grit, optimism and curiosity.

This is not about vague notions of ‘learning how to learn’ or ‘therapeutic education’, and we will not return to the failed approaches of the past. In 2005, the then-government promoted and funded a strategy to schools named ‘ social and emotional aspects of learning ’. This was a well-meaning attempt to ensure children received a broader education. But it failed, because it was part of a wider retreat from the importance of knowledge-based curriculums in schools. Its evaluation found that SEAL was in fact associated with declining respect for teachers and enjoyment of school.

We have recognised that a broader education - including character and values - can only succeed when it is underpinned by the highest standards of academic rigour.

The Knowledge is Power Programme schools - KIPP -are one of the earliest and best groups of charter schools in the United States. Their first school opened in Houston, Texas in 1999. They now have 162 schools educating 60,000 pupils throughout the USA, 87% of whom come from low income families.

The first pupils to graduate from KIPP schools left with academic records which no-one had previously dared to expect from young people growing up in the neighbourhoods from which they came. More than 94% of KIPP middle school students have graduated high school, and more than 82% of KIPP alumni have gone on to college.

But while these students from disadvantaged backgrounds were entering colleges in greater numbers than ever before, it soon became clear that they were much more likely to drop out than their more advantaged peers.

The American academic ED Hirsch has made a persuasive case that an important reason for this gap is a deficit of vocabulary and knowledge. KIPP charters are middle schools - so children enter aged 11 or 12. Even the excellent education they receive after they arrive cannot overcome the disadvantage which they have already experienced. Building vocabulary and knowledge simply takes too long. Once in college, without the intensive support provided by KIPP , some are falling behind.

I have no doubt that this explanation is correct. But I am convinced that that these pupils struggled in college for another reason, too. Recent research - particularly the work of Angela Duckworth and the Nobel Laureate James Heckman - has examined the impact of character on underperformance. They have found that key attributes including resilience, self-control and social intelligence are powerful predictors of achievement in education and success in adult life.

Robert Putnam, a Harvard Professor of Public Policy, recently published ‘Our Kids’, an account of the decline of social mobility in the United States over the past half-century. He places part of the blame on unequal access which disadvantaged children have to extracurricular activities, compared to the greater opportunities open to children in better-off circumstances.

If we are to deliver on our commitment to social justice, breaking the cycle of disadvantage so that every child reaches their potential, we must therefore ensure that all pupils benefit from an education based on these values.

Character education is already a part of the ethos and culture of many good schools. In the United States, KIPP schools now focus on developing grit, resilience and self-confidence in their pupils, and this work is showing results. As of spring 2015, 45% of KIPP pupils have gained a college degree, compared to a national average of 34%, and just 9% from low-income families.

Building on this evidence, we launched a national awards scheme to reward and showcase schools and organisations who demonstrated their commitment to building character in young people aged 5 to 16.

We are also providing £3.5 million to fund 14 projects to build and better understand what works and share the good practice with all schools.

Premier Rugby Limited and 14 professional rugby clubs are leading one of these projects, in the year that the Rugby World Cup comes to England. Building on the core rugby values of respect, teamwork, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, the programme will deliver classroom based and physical activity character building programmes to 17,250 pupils. An additional programme funded by Premier Rugby and its partnerships will offer an intensive 33 week programme to 480 16- to 18-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training. These vulnerable young people will benefit from character building activities, qualifications and work experience, setting them up for a more successful future.

A further project will be led by Floreat Education, a trust with 2 new free schools. They will receive funding to develop and pilot a character virtue development programme for reception, year 1 and year 2 in its 2 new free schools, from September. The project will also provide significant resources and support for other schools, helping to spread the impact of their work more widely.

Three purposes - empowering young people to succeed in the economy, participate in culture, and leave school prepared for adult life - have consistently guided our programme of reform. Delivering on our commitment to social justice means placing these principles at the centre of everything we do, so that every young person has the opportunity to reach their potential.

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The indispensable role of parents in children's education | Alicia Woo

Alicia Woo

My name is Alicia Woo, and I am running for the Washoe County School Board in District G, which serves the western side of Washoe County from Incline Village to Cold Springs.

When discussing how to improve education, the conversation often centers on supporting teachers and enhancing school resources and programs to address student needs. As a Washoe County high school science teacher and track and field coach for 17 years, I deeply understand the importance of these elements. However, this discussion often overlooks what is arguably the most crucial factor in a child's education: the parents. A strong partnership between the schools and parents could have a significant impact on student achievement.

Parents are a child’s first teachers, imparting the fundamental values and skills that shape their character and worldview. From the earliest days of language development and social interaction, parents set the stage for a lifetime of learning. They teach their children how to speak, how to behave, and how to approach problems with curiosity and resilience. These early lessons form the foundation upon which formal education builds.

One problem I have observed in our school district is that many parents feel that their role is not respected. Those who attend School Board meetings feel completely ignored. In some cases, district policies mandate that schools withhold important information from the parents, such as Administrative Regulation 5161, which prohibits the staff from revealing to parents information regarding a student’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Parents have the right to feel that their voices are heard, their concerns are addressed, and they are assured that no important information about their child will be withheld from them.

Additionally, parents are an underutilized resource for enhancing the quality of our schools. Research consistently shows that children with actively engaged parents perform better academically, exhibit better behavior, and are more likely to complete their schooling. This involvement can take many forms: helping with homework, attending parent-teacher conferences, advocating for special needs, volunteering at school events, and fostering an environment that values education at home. Given the crucial role parents play in their children's education, I believe there should be more opportunities for parents to engage with schools and more resources to help them support their children at home.

In conclusion, while supporting teachers and enhancing school resources are crucial for improving education, we must not overlook the essential role parents play. Recognizing and involving parents can significantly enhance our schools, boost children’s academic success, behavior, and graduation rates. By improving communication, ensuring parents are informed, and providing support resources, we can create a more collaborative and effective educational environment. Empowering parents as partners is vital for the success of our students and the overall quality of our schools.

Alicia Woo is a candidate for Washoe County School Board, District G.

Have your say: How to submit an opinion column or letter to the editor

What All Teachers Should Know About WIDA’s Test for English Learners

what is role for education

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Schools are required to test the progress of their English learners each year to determine whether they still need language instruction services or can exit out of such programs. In close to 40 states, that test is known as the WIDA ACCESS test .

What is the WIDA ACCESS test used for?

Offered both online and in a paper format, ACCESS tests students’ proficiency in four domains: speaking, reading, listening, and writing in English. The questions are modeled along academic content they would see in regular classes. For instance, reading questions might be about a science topic. The test is checking for language use in academic contexts, not content knowledge nor social language.

Teachers who specialize in English-language instruction say their general education peers play a key role in prepping students to succeed on the ACCESS test. And researchers who study English-language acquisition agree.

Laptop Checklist 052024 1251676666 [Converted] 01

This collaboration between general and specialized teachers is even more critical now, researchers say, because new analyses of national ACCESS scores show that average scores continue to trend down since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For general education teachers to better support language acquisition for the English learners in their classrooms, it starts with familiarizing themselves with the test itself and what scores can tell them about their students’ language needs.

“There is a gap between what general education teachers likely know about the WIDA test because they are unable to see it administered,” said Missy Testerman, the 2024 National Teacher of the Year and a K-8 English-as-a-second-language teacher in Rogersville, Tenn. “I feel like it’s a lot more rigorous than most people are aware of in terms of what our English-language learners are asked to do.”

The WIDA ACCESS test covers language use in an academic context

The ACCESS test takes up to four hours to complete, though timing can vary, and is typically split across multiple days in one week.

The 36 states (as well as additional territories and federal agencies) that use the test are part of what’s known as the WIDA consortium—which provides common standards as the measure of English language proficiency. The test builds from those standards in terms of levels of difficulty by grade level. It’s also an adaptive test—in particular, the online test increases or decreases levels of difficulty (known as tiers) as the student progresses, said Mark Chapman, senior innovation researcher at WIDA. For the paper test, administrators set the difficulty level for each student.

States then individually set the scores students need to get across the four domains to demonstrate proficiency in English. Their scores determine if they remain in an English-learner program or if they can exit.

ACCESS is not a test students can study for. However, students who consistently use and are exposed to language in an academic context throughout the school day are better prepared for the test.

“It’s really important to disentangle that everyday social language, that we know many students who were born in the United States and grew up in the United States … tend to be highly proficient in,” Chapman said. (Many English learners were born or grew up in the United States.)

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can understand the language needed to describe a science experiment, or you have the language to talk through the solution to a math problem. Those are different types of language development, which we’re trying to assess.”

What is taking WIDA ACCESS like for students?

Both online and paper versions of the test incorporate several visuals that help keep students engaged throughout and serve as additional support for younger English learners and newcomer students still very new to the English language, said Fabiana MacMillan, WIDA’s director of test development.

Reading 9 12 Coins

Students select answers from multiple-choice options, write or type out sentences and paragraphs, click and drag images, and even record themselves responding to prompts.

To loop general education colleagues into her work with English learners, Testerman in past years has taken sample questions and practice tests that are freely available on the WIDA website to general classrooms and led activities with the whole class.

“It’s really very interesting because sometimes the general education teachers are shocked at how many of their [non-English-learner] students in the general education classroom have trouble with those tasks, particularly around the writing piece,” Testerman said.

“I feel like in some cases, it’s given my [English-learner] students more respect, because their teachers and their classmates see the types of things that they’re having to do on the WIDA test,” she added.

writing 2 3 reading time 2nd

What can the results on WIDA ACCESS tests tell teachers about students?

At Volusia County public schools in Florida, Betsy Sotomayor, an English-for-speakers-of-other-languages resource teacher for the district, regularly meets with general education teachers to review ACCESS sample questions and students’ scores and what they mean for their general classroom work.

For instance, a student may score low in the speaking portion of ACCESS but high in reading. The teacher can ask: Is that student getting enough time to practice speaking in academic contexts in the classroom?

Teachers then have a better sense of what language practice is needed in general classrooms, Sotomayor said.

“It’s just the fear of the unknown. But then once [teachers] understand how valuable this assessment is, they’re all in, they’re really all in, and they really appreciate it,” she said.

General education teachers can improve academic language use for all students

For all educators to better support English learners’ language development, they first need the right mindset.

Just because an English learner’s vocabulary may not be as expansive as others, or they write in phrases rather than sentences, doesn’t mean they’re not connecting with academic content, said Leslie Grimm, assistant director of educator learning, research, and practice at WIDA. They may just not be able to express their content knowledge in full in English yet.

“If you go into these contexts thinking 100 percent that you recognize, you affirm, and you respect where they are in their learning trajectory, and what they know and what they can do, I think that you’ll set up a more rigorous classroom environment,” Grimm said. “Because the reality is classroom environments have to be rigorous to meet any standards, whether it’s English-language development standards or content standards.”

Whether it’s preparing English learners for state standardized tests or the ACCESS test, Grimm has one big piece of advice for all teachers: maximize the opportunities for students to engage across language modalities. (Speaking, writing, etc.)

English learners need opportunities to practice talking and writing in class. Grimm suggests setting up group activities that involve turn and talk where, given a topic, a student may say something and then another says something different, but they’re building on that previous idea and expanding on it.

Students should also be given clear directions on what they are doing across modalities. For instance, if a student is asked to describe something that they’re noticing in a science experiment and must write that down, what kind of language would they use? They may name what they are studying but then may use a pronoun to describe it later, rather than restate the name.

If at the end of a social studies unit students must engage in classroom debate, there are specific language features used when speaking in a debate that students should practice using throughout the unit.

Testerman said that promoting formal, language use in general classrooms is something that benefits all students, especially since language learning never stops as language itself evolves. For instance, the word zoom used to mean moving at a fast pace but is now more often used to refer to the virtual meeting platform and the verb of using said platform, she said.

But Testerman also recognizes how busy teachers are. It’s why she advocates for district leaders to facilitate time for general classroom teachers to plan with English-as-a-second-language teachers so they can review language objectives and learning standards together and come up with a plan on how to best promote language development across the school day.

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Sheinbaum wins Mexico's presidential election

Christopher Sherman, Associated Press Christopher Sherman, Associated Press

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  • Copy URL https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/who-is-claudia-sheinbaum-heres-what-to-know-about-mexicos-next-president

Who is Claudia Sheinbaum? Here’s what to know about Mexico’s next president

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Claudia Sheinbaum, who will be Mexico’s first woman leader in the nation’s more than 200 years of independence, captured the presidency by promising continuity.

The 61-year-old former Mexico City mayor and lifelong leftist ran a disciplined campaign capitalizing on her predecessor’s popularity before emerging victorious in Sunday’s vote, according to an official quick count. But with her victory now in hand, Mexicans will look to see how Sheinbaum, a very different personality from mentor and current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will assert herself.

READ MORE: Mexico picks Claudia Sheinbaum for president, first woman to hold the job

While she hewed close to López Obrador politically and shares many of his ideas about the government’s role in addressing inequality, she is viewed as less combative and more data-driven.

Sheinbaum’s background is in science. She has a Ph.D. in energy engineering. Her brother is a physicist. In a 2023 interview with The Associated Press, Sheinbaum said, “I believe in science.”

Observers say that grounding showed itself in Sheinbaum’s actions as mayor during the COVID-19 pandemic, when her city of some 9 million people took a different approach from what López Obrador espoused at the national level.

READ MORE: These are the pressing gender-related issues facing Mexico’s next president

While the federal government was downplaying the importance of coronavirus testing, Mexico City expanded its testing regimen. Sheinbaum set limits on businesses’ hours and capacity when the virus was rapidly spreading, even though López Obrador wanted to avoid any measures that would hurt the economy. And she publicly wore protective masks and urged social distancing while the president was still lunging into crowds.

Mexico’s persistently high levels of violence will be one of her most immediate challenges after she takes office Oct. 1. On the campaign trail she said little more than that she would expand the quasi-military National Guard created by López Obrador and continue his strategy of targeting social ills that make so many young Mexicans easy targets for cartel recruitment.

“Let it be clear, it doesn’t mean an iron fist, wars or authoritarianism,” Sheinbaum said of her approach to tackling criminal gangs, during her final campaign event. “We will promote a strategy of addressing the causes and continue moving toward zero impunity.”

Sheinbaum has praised López Obrador profusely and said little that the president hasn’t said himself. She blamed neoliberal economic policies for condemning millions to poverty, promised a strong welfare state and praised Mexico’s large state-owned oil company, Pemex, while also promising to emphasize clean energy.

READ MORE: What to know about Mexico’s historic elections on Sunday that will likely put a woman in power

“For me, being from the left has to do with that, with guaranteeing the minimum rights to all residents,” Sheinbaum told the AP last year.

In contrast to López Obrador, who seemed to relish his highly public battles with other branches of the government and also the news media, Sheinbaum is expected by many observers to be less combative or at least more selective in picking her fights.

“It appears she’s going to go in a different direction,” said Ivonne Acuña Murillo, a political scientist at Iberoamerican University. “I don’t know how much.”

Sheinbaum will also be the first person from a Jewish background to lead the overwhelmingly Catholic country.

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what is role for education

what is role for education

Tuscaloosa City Schools explores AI's role with new position, balances innovation, safety

E ach day artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming a part of our everyday life. It's evident in everything from social media to education, but what is AI's role in the classroom? Tuscaloosa City Schools is trying to figure that out. The district adopted a position on AI. It encompasses the benefits and concerns of the growing role of AI In education. Director of Technology Chris Jenks says developing a position will make sure everyone is on the same page, but as technology changes, so will the school system's position.

 "There is a new frontier sort of mentality with it. That's hard for us to adjust to, we have to make sure we do precede but proceed with caution. One way I characterize it, is only we can be the humans in this scenario, right. We need to be as human as possible. We want to explore these tools, while at the same time having guardrails that keep us out of hairy situations where we have dangers," explained Jenks.

  • SEE ALSO:  Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind launches Automotive Manufacturing Program
  • SEE ALSO:  Schools turn to AI to help with bus driver shortage

It's the latest challenge in education, adapting to artificial intelligence. How to use it, and when. Jenks said it is all about balance and trust. 

"As we approach using AI, we have to understand what we are talking about. We want to differentiate for our educators how we should use it, while at the same time have policies in place that are guardrails. We want to create opportunities with access to the new tools, we want to be mindful of the legal restrictions, like FERPA and COPPA and all the laws we have to abide by.  We also want to create organizational efficiencies in our departments," said Jenks.  If we can boil it down to maybe one thing, we want teachers to have the feeling that we trust our students and that our teachers can be trusted to use these tools in a way that is supportive without compromising our safety."

Jenks said in order for everyone to be on the same page about AI, the district needs to begin with the same set of assumptions. 12:00

One of the points of having the position statement is to create an environment where we begin with the set of assumptions that we are going to trust one another.  We are gonna start from a place of, we assume we want to learn together. Them use the policies and procedures we have and the ones we develop to provide support for students.

Jenks explains there are two main types of AI. Predictive AI, that could help  schools with calculating bus routes for the district. Then there's generative AI, like Chat GPT or Google's Gemini, which at this point are not available for students use in Tuscaloosa City Schools.

"One of the promises that AI and particularly generative AI has for education is personalized learning, being able to deliver a personalized plan for learning for each student. In order to get there we also have to be mindful that we could give up too much data about the student."

The Tuscaloosa City Schools position on AI outlines benefits and concerns. It says the benefits of the skill development from AI can prepare students for college and careers, especially in STEM fields.

 "Teachers have lots and lots of work to do, and if we can take some of the administrative burden off of them, that allows them to be freed up to do the more human work. When a student needs a good-modeled reading, they might that first from the artificial intelligence, but then later on a teacher can go behind that AI and do one on one work with a student to help them become a proficient reader. "

The position also cites concerns about AI, including over reliance on the resources, new way for students to present others' work as their own,  and  threats to data privacy and security. 

 "We are looking for an assessment of all attainment of standards rather than one paper being written by a student. Changing what we do to make sure, that cheating, is not what we are really looking to detect. We are looking to make sure that students are showing their learning, and if the are showing they are showing their learning the AI can't do that from them."

"I think long term having the benefits of having access to these tools and the way they can improve student instruction I think they will be of benefit, there is a lot we don't understand about their application right now so that's why we want to take a strong position of working to build trust and dialogue so that as we move forward we can do that together."

Tuscaloosa City Schools explores AI's role  with new position, balances innovation, safety

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The right to education

Education is a basic human right that works to raise men and women out of poverty, level inequalities and ensure sustainable development. But worldwide 244 million children and youth are still out of school for social, economic and cultural reasons. Education is one of the most powerful tools in lifting excluded children and adults out of poverty and is a stepping stone to other fundamental human rights. It is the most sustainable investment. The right to quality education is already firmly rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international legal instruments, the majority of which are the result of the work of UNESCO and the United Nations.    

  • What you need to know about the right to education
  • Q&A with the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education

Understanding the right to education

Enforcing the right to education.

Developing norms and standards

in reviewing and developing education legal and policy frameworks

Responding to challenges

The start of a global conversation

Right to education campaign

Say no to discrimination in education! - #RightToEducation campaign

Monitoring tools.

what is role for education

For any information, please contact:  [email protected]   

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Monitoring SDG 4: access to education

Resources from UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report.

  • Open access
  • Published: 31 May 2024

The role of medical schools in UK students’ career intentions: findings from the AIMS study

  • Tomas Ferreira 1 , 3 ,
  • Alexander M. Collins 2 , 3 ,
  • Arthur Handscomb 3 ,
  • Dania Al-Hashimi 4 &

the AIMS Collaborative

BMC Medical Education volume  24 , Article number:  604 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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To investigate differences in students’ career intentions between UK medical schools.

Cross-sectional, mixed-methods online survey.

The primary study included all 44 UK medical schools, with this analysis comprising 42 medical schools.


Ten thousand four hundred eighty-six UK medical students.

Main outcome measures

Career intentions of medical students, focusing on differences between medical schools. Secondary outcomes included variation in medical students’ satisfaction with a prospective career in the NHS, by medical school.

2.89% of students intended to leave medicine altogether, with Cambridge Medical School having the highest proportion of such respondents. 32.35% of respondents planned to emigrate for practice, with Ulster medical students being the most likely. Of those intending to emigrate, the University of Central Lancashire saw the highest proportion stating no intentions to return. Cardiff Medical School had the greatest percentage of students intending to assume non-training clinical posts after completing FY2. 35.23% of participating medical students intended to leave the NHS within 2 years of graduating, with Brighton and Sussex holding the highest proportion of these respondents. Only 17.26% were satisfied with the prospect of working in the NHS, with considerable variation nationally; Barts and the London medical students had the highest rates of dissatisfaction.


This study reveals variability in students’ career sentiment across UK medical schools, emphasising the need for attention to factors influencing these trends. A concerning proportion of students intend to exit the NHS within 2 years of graduating, with substantial variation between institutions. Students’ intentions may be shaped by various factors, including curriculum focus and recruitment practices. It is imperative to re-evaluate these aspects within medical schools, whilst considering the wider national context, to improve student perceptions towards an NHS career. Future research should target underlying causes for these disparities to facilitate improvements to career satisfaction and retention.

Peer Review reports


The rapidly changing dynamics of modern healthcare require a comprehensive understanding of the driving forces behind the career trajectories of doctors. As the landscape of patient care, healthcare policy, and medical technology continues to evolve, so too do the career choices of emerging doctors. These choices, as research increasingly demonstrates, are not solely the product of personal inclination or market demand but are deeply influenced by their experiences in medical school [ 1 ].

In recent years, the recruitment and retention of doctors within the United Kingdom’s (UK) National Health Service (NHS) have emerged as pressing concerns, requiring a detailed analysis of the factors influencing the career intentions of medical students [ 2 , 3 , 4 ]. To address this, the Ascertaining the career Intentions of Medical Students (AIMS) study — the largest ever UK medical student survey — delineated the career intentions and underlying motivations of students, highlighting a significant trend towards alternative careers or emigration, influenced predominantly by remuneration, work-life balance, and working conditions within the NHS [ 5 ].

Expanding upon the insights of the AIMS study, we seek to further explore the nuanced differences in career intentions among medical students, in relation to their institutional affiliations, and foster a dialogue concerning medical education and workforce planning in the UK, highlighting the role of medical schools in shaping career trajectories. It is posited that these educational institutions, with their diverse curricular designs and teaching philosophies, may play a pivotal role in shaping the prospective professional trajectories of their students. Furthermore, the distinct socio-economic and cultural environments in which these schools are situated, and those of the students they attract, may also contribute to the varied perspectives and career aspirations of students. Historically, the field of medical education has been subject to a variety of pedagogical philosophies, curricular reforms, and institutional priorities. These variations across medical schools, while often subtle, can result in significant differences in the way students perceive their roles, responsibilities, and opportunities within the broader healthcare ecosystem. Literature suggests that various elements including the culture of a medical school and its sociocultural context play a significant role in shaping the professional aspirations of its students [ 1 , 6 ].

This manuscript seeks to identify and characterise these differences, with a focused analysis on how various medical schools in the UK might be influencing the career preferences and intended paths of their students. These findings may hold significant implications for various stakeholders within the healthcare sector. Policymakers could find guidance for strategic investments and resource allocation to areas anticipated to experience shortages, while educationalists could gain an opportunity for reflection on the potential influence of their institutions on student aspirations, thereby considering necessary adjustments. Furthermore, it affords insights for improved recruitment strategies, critical to ensuring the NHS’s continued role in the UK.

Study design

The AIMS study was a national, cross-sectional, multi-centre study of medical students conducted according to its published protocol and extensively described in its main publication [ 5 , 7 ]. Participants from 44 UK medical schools recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC) were recruited through a non-random sampling method via a novel, self-administered, 71-item questionnaire. The survey was hosted on the Qualtrics survey platform (Provo, Utah, USA), a GDPR-compliant online platform that supports both mobile and desktop devices.

Participant recruitment and eligibility

In an attempt to minimise bias and increase the survey’s reach to promote representativeness, a network of approximately 200 collaborators was recruited across 42 medical schools – one collaborator per year group, per school – prior to the study launch to disseminate the study. All students were eligible to apply to become a collaborator. This approach aimed to obtain a representative sample and improve our findings’ generalisability. The survey was disseminated between 16 January 2023 and 27 March 2023, by the AIMS Collaborative via social media (including Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn), word of mouth, medical student newsletters/bulletins, and medical school emailing lists.

Individuals were eligible to participate in the survey if they were actively enrolled in a UK medical school acknowledged by the GMC and listed by the Medical School Council (MSC). Certain new medical schools had received approval from the GMC but were yet to admit their inaugural cohort of students, so were excluded from the study.

Data processing and storage

To prevent data duplication, each response was restricted to a single institutional email address. Any replicated email entries were removed prior to data analysis. In cases where identical entries contained distinct responses, the most recent entry was kept. Responses for which valid institutional email addresses were missing were removed prior to data analysis to preserve the study’s integrity.

The findings of this subanalysis, and the AIMS study, were reported in accordance with the STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) guidelines [ 8 ].

Quantitative data analysis

Descriptive analysis was carried out with Microsoft Excel (V.16.71) (Arlington, Virginia, USA), and statistical inference was performed using RStudio (V.4.2.1) (Boston, Massachusetts, USA). Tables and graphs were generated using GraphPad Prism (V.9.5.0) (San Diego, California, USA). ORs, CIs and p values were computed by fitting single-variable logistic regression models to explore the effect of various demographic characteristics on students’ career intentions. CIs were calculated at 95% level. We used p  < 0.05 to determine the statistical significance for all tests.

Study population and exclusion

All current students of all year groups at UK medical schools recognised by the GMC and the MSC were eligible for participation. Brunel Medical School and Kent and Medway Medical School were excluded from this current analysis due to the limited number of respondents from these institutions ( n  < 30), to avoid misrepresenting the career intentions and characteristics of their broader student populations.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was granted by the University of Cambridge Research Ethics Committee (reference PRE.2022.124) on the 5th of January 2023. Prior to completing the survey, all participants provided informed consent. Participating medical schools were contacted prior to data collection to seek support and request permission to contact their students.


In total, 10,486 students across all 44 UK medical schools participated in the survey. To enable comparison of students’ career intentions between medical schools, only 42 medical schools were considered due to the sample size gathered. The average number of responses per medical school was 244, with a median of 203 (IQR 135–281). Participants had a median age of 22 (IQR 20–23). Among the participants, 66.5% were female ( n  = 6977), 32.7% were male ( n  = 3429), 0.6% were non-binary ( n  = 64), and 16 individuals chose not to disclose their gender. A detailed breakdown of participant characteristics, including gender, ethnicity, previous schooling, and course type, is illustrated in Supplemental Figs.  1 a-d.

A total of 303/10,486 (2.89%, CI: 2.59, 3.23%) medical students intended to leave the profession entirely, either immediately after graduation ( n  = 104/303, 34.32%, CI: 29.20, 39.84%), after completion of FY1 ( n  = 132/303, 43.56%, CI: 38.1, 49.19%), or after completion of FY2 ( n  = 67/303, 22.11%, CI: 17.8, 27.12%). Figure  1 illustrates the distribution of these students throughout UK medical schools as a percentage of total response numbers per school. The medical schools of Cambridge, Oxford, and Imperial College medical schools had the highest proportion of students intending to leave the profession altogether.

figure 1

Proportion of Medical Students Intending to Leave the Profession Across UK Medical Schools. The figure depicts the percentage of students at each UK medical school who intend to exit the medical field entirely. Percentages are calculated as a proportion of total respondents from each individual school

Furthermore, 32.35% of participating medical students ( n  = 3392/10,486, CI: 31.46, 33.25%) expressed intentions to emigrate to practise medicine, either immediately after graduation ( n  = 220/3292, 6.49%, CI: 5.71, 7.36%), after completion of FY1 ( n  = 1101/3292 32.46%, CI: 30.90, 34.05%) or after FY2 ( n  = 2071/3292, 61.06%, CI: 59.40, 62.68%). Figure  2 a demonstrates the distribution of these intentions across UK medical schools, relative to total response rates per school. Notably, Ulster University had the highest proportion of students considering emigration (45.45%), in contrast to Edge Hill, where 19.64% held similar intentions. Among students intending to emigrate, 49.56% ( n  = 1681, CI: 47.88, 51.24%) planned a return to the UK after a few years abroad, while 7.87% ( n  = 267, CI: 7.01, 8.83%) expected to return after completing their medical training abroad. The remaining 42.57% ( n  = 1444, CI: 40.92, 44.24%) expressed no plans to return to practise in the UK, as demonstrated in Fig.  2 b.

figure 2

Proportion of Medical Students Intending to Emigrate Across UK Medical Schools (a) and Return Prospects (b). a illustrates the proportion of students from each UK medical school who intend to emigrate for medical practice, relative to total respondents from each school. b delineates the return prospects among students planning to emigrate

Of the 8806 respondents intending to complete both FY1 and FY2, 48.76% ( n  = 4294, CI: 47.72, 49.81%) planned to enter specialty training in the UK immediately thereafter; 21.11% ( n  = 1859, CI: 20.27, 21.98%) intended to enter a non-training clinical job in the UK (commonly comprising an ‘F3’ year, including a junior clinical fellowship or clinical teaching fellowship, or in locum roles). These ‘non-training’ roles, although valuable for gaining clinical experience, are largely standalone posts which do not contribute to accreditation within medical specialties. The school with the highest proportion of responses indicating plans to enter specialty training immediately after FY2 was Edge Hill (64.29%), whereas at Cardiff only 25.62% shared this intention. Cardiff students were also most likely to plan to enter non-training clinical posts after FY2, at 29.06%. Students from the University of Buckingham were, by far, the least likely to look to pursue non-training posts (2.70%). Figure  3 a and b present the distribution of these intentions across UK medical schools.

figure 3

Distribution of Post-Foundation Programme Career Intentions Among UK Medical Students by School. a illustrates the proportion of students at each UK medical school intending to enter specialty training immediately following the Foundation Programme. b presents the proportion of students planning to enter non-training clinical roles (comprising ‘F3’ year roles, junior clinical fellowships, clinical teaching fellowships, or locum positions) in the UK after FY2

In total, 35.23% (3695/10,486) of medical students intend to leave the NHS within 2 years of graduating, either to practise abroad or leave medicine. Respondents from Brighton and Sussex Medical School expressed this intention most often (47.78%), whilst those from Aston Medical School were the least likely to do so (20.77%) (Fig.  4 ).

figure 4

Proportion of UK Medical Students Intending to Leave the NHS Within 2 Years of Graduation, by School

To better ascertain the medical student population’s sentiments towards working in the NHS, respondents were asked to share their degree of satisfaction with several factors. Likert scale matrices were employed, with options ranging from ‘Very satisfied’ to ‘Not at all satisfied’. An important aspect was students’ overall satisfaction with the prospect of working within the NHS, with which only 17.26% of students were either satisfied or very satisfied. This figure varied substantially by institution as illustrated in Fig.  5 . Surveyed students from Barts and the London, Liverpool, and King’s College London GKT schools of medicine were the most dissatisfied, with dissatisfaction rates of 76.07, 72.48 and 66.84% respectively. Conversely, students from Aberdeen (43.27%), Buckingham (34.78%) and Ulster medical schools (33.33%) were those least dissatisfied with the prospect of working in the NHS.

figure 5

Medical Students’ Overall Satisfaction with the Prospect of Working in the NHS, by School. The figure illustrates the variation in levels of career satisfaction across UK medical schools

Principal findings

This study identified considerable institutional variation in students’ career intentions and sentiment about their future careers.

Our results show that, in each UK medical school, over a fifth of participating medical students intend to leave the NHS within 2 years of graduation – and in some medical schools, this figure was approximately half. Nationally, this figure surpassed a third of surveyed medical students. Most would-be leavers plan to emigrate, many permanently, while a notable minority of respondents plan to leave the profession altogether. Here, we consider possible reasons for these trends, and offer potential means of adapting medical schools to avert the loss of these medics from the NHS workforce.

The levels of satisfaction among medical students concerning their prospective employment within the NHS displayed marked disparities, influenced potentially by institutional factors. In certain schools, up to 76% of students expressed dissatisfaction with the prospect of a career within the NHS, contrasted with the 48% recorded in others. The national average of 60% dissatisfaction is concerning and warrants further investigation to identify the underlying causes of this marked variability across different medical schools. Understanding the specific factors influencing medical students’ satisfaction levels could be critical in developing strategies to improve their perceptions of careers in the NHS.

Differing career sentiment between medical schools

Many differences exist between medical schools, some inherent or incidental, and others the result of decisions taken by medical faculties. Naturally, there is variation by geography, in the clinical environments and patient populations to which students are exposed, or in differences in the NHS between the UK’s devolved nations. The composition of the student body, in terms of various demographic characteristics also differs considerably between schools (Supplemental Figs.  1 a-d). Additionally, despite meeting minimum standards set by the GMC, medical schools are distinct in their curriculum delivery and priorities, culture, and other factors. This ‘hidden curriculum’ can be influential in students’ outlook towards medicine and their careers [ 9 ]. Medical schools’ autonomy extends to setting local recruitment practices, leading to differences in entry requirements and favoured attributes for which candidates are selected [ 10 ].

Curriculum focus and its influence

Certain faculties may favour students for academic potential or other attributes that may not necessarily correspond to their aptitude or interest in clinical medicine. At these schools, medical curricula may be more science-focused, such as by employing the ‘traditional’ model of medical education which firmly separates preclinical and clinical studies. During the early years of study, in which clinical exposure is low, students may find themselves detached from the medical field and begin considering alternative careers. This may be especially true where intercalated degrees form mandatory components of the curriculum – the receipt of which would enable pursuit of graduate roles or postgraduate degrees. Moreover, some institutions emphasising academic achievement may offer academic opportunities which could further distance those enrolled from the profession. For instance, previous graduates of MB/PhD programmes, an option to intercalate a PhD degree offered by only a limited number of universities, have gone onto careers in academia, industry, and business [ 11 , 12 ].

Recruitment practices

Despite the inherent importance of academic ability, it is important to recognise that a ‘good’ doctor requires a balance of various attributes including empathy, resilience, and communication skills. Furthermore, a clear understanding and realistic expectations of the profession are critical. The possible discrepancy between academic aptitude and the day-to-day reality of medical practice may be a contributing factor to the observed trends of students contemplating leaving the profession. Therefore, ensuring a balanced and holistic approach in selection processes could contribute to cultivating a workforce committed to pursuing medical practice in the NHS long term. Currently, prospective students undergo varying forms of interviews, which, due to their brevity and the substantial volume of applications, may not adequately capture a candidate’s realistic expectations and motivations towards a medical career. To increase the robustness of the selection process, medical schools should consider revisiting the structure of their interview processes, potentially incorporating methods to more accurately assess applicants’ understanding and enthusiasm for a medical career within the NHS more accurately. This approach could include comprehensive discussions focusing on the complexities and realities associated with a medical career [ 13 ]. Moreover, there are relevant differences in institutions’ selection criteria, with some valuing extracurricular activities, while some place greater emphasis on personal statements more, and others prioritise results achieved in admission exams [ 10 ]. Implementing such changes in the recruitment process can be a proactive step towards retaining talent within the NHS and encouraging more students to envisage a fulfilling career within the medical profession.

Institutional reputation

Respondents from institutions which place highly in national and international university rankings exhibited a greater propensity to consider leaving the profession [ 14 , 15 ]. Notably, the universities of Cambridge (8.59%), Oxford (8.26%), and Imperial College London (8.24%) led this trend. Attending these, and other, historically prestigious schools, may boost non-clinical career opportunities, so their students may be attracted to the perceived benefits of alternative careers over those in clinical practice. This institutional reputation may have initially attracted some students, for whom the career opportunities outside clinical practice now offer more compelling options compared to working in the NHS. This, coupled with growing reports of doctors looking to leave the health service, may partly explain the trend observed [ 3 ]. However, it is important to note that this phenomenon is neither new nor limited to the UK, with a 2001 study identifying growing numbers of medical students in the United States intending to pursue non-clinical, non-academic careers over time [ 16 ]. Notably, only four schools had 0% of students intending to leave the profession.

Demographic influences

Moreover, the composition of the student body, particularly in terms of demographic makeup may represent another potential influence on career intentions. For instance, if data indicate that students from certain demographics were more likely to pursue a certain career path, a school with a higher proportion of such students may appear to exhibit a similar inclination. It is important to note that these tendencies may be reflective of broader societal and demographic differences, rather than factors intrinsic to the respective institutions. A deeper analysis of demographic nuances may elucidate the intricate interplay of background and career choices, offering valuable insights for future policy and institutional strategies. Furthermore, it would be prudent to recognise that certain students, particularly those from widening participation backgrounds, may have limited agency regarding the career pathway they pursue. For some, this limitation may be financial in nature or due to caring responsibilities, while for others it may be more strongly related to the awarding gap [ 17 ].

Proposed solutions and future directions

Our findings underscore the need to explore the reasons for the observed disparities in students’ career sentiment across medical schools. Using this information, medical courses may be adapted to improve students’ feelings about their future medical careers in the NHS or otherwise. As students’ perspectives are guided by their educational experiences, undergraduate training they deem suboptimal could contribute to a diminished enthusiasm for a career in medicine. Higher standards of teaching may increase interest and engagement in the medical profession, while inadequate teaching quality could engender frustration and disillusionment. Unsatisfied students may opt to pursue alternative careers or relocate to destinations where they perceive education and training standards to be higher [ 18 ]. To substantiate this, further studies could endeavour to quantify perceptions towards teaching standards at medical school and the impact of teaching quality on students’ career choices, potentially guiding improvements in curriculum design and faculty development.

It is important to note that many respondents will have been studying medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, medical schools had the difficult task of balancing infection risk with maintaining educational standards. Centres will have differed in their approach, and negative experiences - educational or otherwise - from this period may have adversely influenced students’ attitudes towards medicine [ 19 ].

Furthermore, the structure or variety of clinical placements used by some medical schools could more effectively convey a positive outlook of medical careers or the NHS. This is often contingent on the clinical environments in which medical students rotate. For instance, limited exposure to certain specialties or sub-specialties—only available at select centres—may inadvertently obscure potentially rewarding career paths. Similarly, limited opportunities in rural medicine, public health, or other non-hospital-based pathways may also achieve the same effect [ 20 ]. Spaces and learning opportunities may also be shared with increasing cohort sizes or, depending upon geography, with students from other medical schools, potentially diluting learning opportunities [ 21 ]. Staffing levels, workplace culture and health outcomes also vary geographically, both within and between the UK’s devolved nations [ 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 ]. These factors inform students’ perceptions of the career and may contribute to their decision-making. To mitigate this, medical faculties would benefit from establishing or expanding student feedback mechanisms. The objective is to identify factors affecting training experiences and to ensure equitable access across the UK, irrespective of the medical school attended.. Such engagement may also reveal which career paths are under-explored in individual medical curricula. In response to students’ views, or from faculties’ own understanding of where these deficits may lie, schools may consider offering means of addressing this, such as through optional specialty taster days.

Where higher proportions of students expressed interests in either relocating to work abroad or in leaving the profession entirely, there may be benefit in fostering a culture of mentorship and guidance around medical careers. Mentorship can support students to navigate systems used during applications for increasingly competitive specialty training programmes [ 26 , 27 ]. Guidance from medics acquainted with these processes can support students to pursue their preferred specialty and could consequently reduce attrition by improving their perceived career prospects.

Findings in context

The AIMS study highlighted a wide range of factors which contribute to medical students’ career sentiment and their intended career trajectory [ 5 ]. Here, we explored the role of medical schools in this complex equation and, although influential, this must be considered in that wider context. While national policy reform addressing factors such as remuneration and working conditions are required to reverse current trends in students’ career intentions, the strategies proposed in this manuscript may serve to address regional disparities.


Despite the AIMS study constituting the largest ever study of UK medical students, due to the methods of dissemination, the number of students who saw the invitation to participate in the study is unknown, and therefore we are unable to calculate the response rate. Consequently, the sample may have been subject to selection bias, possibly driven by greater response rates among students with existing interests in this subject. Additionally, the questions in our survey instruct students to be definitive even when they might not yet have formulated their career plans, a not-improbable situation, particularly for those in the early years of medical school.

Moreover, being a cross-sectional study, it is not possible to comment on changes to medical students’ career sentiment with time. Although informed by their undergraduate training and experiences therefrom, at the time of participation, respondents had not yet worked as medical doctors. As such, their opinions may change once immersed in the career and working in the health service. In anticipation of this limitation, the questionnaire sought consent for a planned follow-up study, to which a 71.29% positive response rate was captured. It is hoped that this study’s findings may be validated by tracking changes in sentiment over time.

Importantly, there was also variability in the number of responses achieved from each medical school. This occurred despite recruitment of a large medical student collaborator network. This discrepancy might be attributed to various factors, including the approach of dissemination undertaken by university or medical school administrators, the design of clinical placements, or the presence and influence of local student societies, among other considerations. To avoid potential misrepresentation due to inadequate sample sizes, we opted to exclude data from the two medical schools that obtained fewer than 30 responses.

While the broader trends of medical students intending to leave the NHS within 2 years of graduating are concerning, the variation in career sentiment across UK medical schools requires consideration. This analysis implicates a complex interplay of factors—ranging from curriculum focus and cohort demographics to recruitment strategies, teaching quality, and clinical experience—in shaping these career intentions. Such variation in career sentiment between institutions may be indicative of deeper issues, possibly rooted in educational approaches and experiences at undergraduate level - on which the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic should be noted.

It is evident that approaches taken to recruitment, educational framework, and support within medical schools require reassessment. Subsequent investigations should examine the underlying causes of disparities in career sentiment by institution, aiming to cultivate resilience, dedication, and - critically - professional fulfilment among the future medical workforce in the UK.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request once all planned subsequent analyses are completed.

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We would like to thank all students that participated in this study.

The AIMS Collaborative.

Tomas Ferreira 1 , Alexander M. Collins 2 , Rita Horvath 1 , Oliver Feng 4 , Richard J Samworth 4 , Mario K Teo 6 , Crispin C Wigfield 6 , Maeve K Mulchrone 7 , Alisha Pervaiz 8 , Heather A Lewis 7 , Anson Wong 7 , Buzz Gilks 1 , Charlotte Casteleyn 9 , Sara Kidher 10 , Erin Fitzsimons-West 1 , Tanzil Rujeedawa 1 , Meghna Sreekumar 1 , Eliza Wade 11 , Juel Choppy-Madeleine 8 , Yasemin Durmus 12 , Olivia King 10 , Yu Ning Ooi 8 , Malvi Shah 9 , Tan Jit Yih 13 , Samantha Burley 1 , Basma R Khan 4 , Emma Slack 1 , Rishik S Pilla 14 , Jenny Yang 1 , Vaishvi Dalal 8 , Brennan L Gibson 7 , Emma Westwood 9 , Brandon S H Low 6 , Sara R Sabur 9 , Wentin Chen 7 , Maryam A Malik 9 , Safa Razzaq 10 , Amardeep Sidki 10 , Giulia Cianci 15 , Felicity Greenfield 3 , Sajad Hussain 3 , Alexandra Thomas 11 , Annie Harrison 16 , Hugo Bernie 3 , Luke Dcaccia 11 , Linnuel J Pregil 13 , Olivia Rowe 11 , Ananya Jain 17 , Gregory K Anyaegbunam 8 , Syed Z Jafri 18 , Sudhanvita Arun 4 , Alfaiya Hashmi 19 , Ankith Pandian 15 , Joseph R Nicholson 20 , Hannah Layton-Joyce 21 , Kouther Mohsin 7 , Matilda Gardener 3 , Eunice C Y Kwan 18 , Emily R Finbow 4 , Sakshi Roy 22 , Zoe M Constantinou 13 , Mackenzie Garlick 3 , Clare L Carney 23 , Samantha Gold 24 , Bilal Qureshi 25 , Daniel Magee 26 , Grace Annetts 25 , Khyatee Shah 27 , Kholood T Munir 14 , Timothy Neill 22 , Gurpreet K Atwal 28 , Anesu Kusosa 18 , Anthony Vijayanathan 14 , Mia Mäntylä 8 , Momina Iqbal 27 , Sara Raja 29 , Tushar Rakhecha 3 , Muhammad H Shah 22 , Pranjil Pokharel 30 , Ashna Anil 31 , Kate Stenning 21 , Katie Appleton 18 , Keerthana Uthayakumar 28 , Rajan Panacer 32 , Yasmin Owadally 17 , Dilaxiha Rajendran 33 , Harsh S Modalavalasa 15 , Marta M Komosa 13 , Morea Turjaka 18 , Sruthi Saravanan 27 , Amelia Dickson 24 , Jack M Read 24 , Georgina Cooper 26 , Wing Chi Do 34 , Chiamaka Anthony-Okeke 35 , Daria M Bageac 24 , David C W Loh 28 , Rida Khan 19 , Ruth Omenyo 31 , Aidan Baker 34 , Imogen Milner 23 , Kavyesh Vivek 17 , Manon Everard 36 , Wajiha Rahman 14 , Denis Chen 26 , Michael E Bryan 34 , Shama Maliha 26 , Vera Onongaya 31 , Amber Dhoot 17 , Catherine L Otoibhi 35 , Harry Donkin-Everton 14 , Mia K Whelan 24 , Claudia S F Hobson 37 , Anthony Haynes 20 , Joshua Bayes-Green 35 , Mariam S Malik 28 , Subanki Srisakthivel 24 , Sophie Kidd 28 , Alan Saji 11 , Govind Dhillon 16 , Muhammed Asif 38 , Riya Patel 30 , Jessica L Marshall 20 , Nain T Raja 29 , Tawfique Rizwan 38 , Aleksandra Dunin- Borkowska 17 , James Brawn 23 , Karthig Thillaivasan 9 , Zainah Sindhoo 27 , Ayeza Akhtar 25 , Emma Hitchcock 36 , Kelly Fletcher 38 , Lok Pong Cheng 37 , Medha Pillaai 28 , Sakshi Garg 15 , Wajahat Khan 12 , Ben Sweeney 20 , Ria Bhatt 39 , Madison Slight 40 , Adan M I Chew 32 , Cameron Thurlow 41 , Kriti Yadav 39 , Niranjan Rajesh 39 , Nathan-Dhruv Mistry 16 , Alyssa Weissman 37 , Juan F E Jaramillo 30 , William Thompson 42 , Gregor W Abercromby 20 , Emily Gaskin 4 , Chloe Milton 43 , Matthew Kokkat 36 , Momina Hussain 26 , Nana A Ohene-Darkoh 39 , Syeda T Islam 33 , Anushruti Yadav 31 , Eve Richings 44 , Samuel Foxcroft 44 , Sukhdev Singh 32 , Vivek Sivadev 40 , Guilherme Movio 30 , Ellena Leigh 45 , Harriet Charlton 44 , James A Cairn 45 , Julia Shaaban 23 , Leah Njenje 43 , Mark J Bishop 44 , Humairaa Ismail 30 , Sarah L Henderson 44 , Daniel C Chalk 20 , Daniel J Mckenna 26 , Fizah Hasan 43 , Kanishka Saxena 32 , Iona E Gibson 44 and Saad Dosani 38 .

1 School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

2 School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

3 Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.

4 Sheffield Medical School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

5 Statistical Laboratory, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

6 Department of Neurosurgery, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK.

7 School of Medicine, University of Birmingham, Birmingham.

8 School of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow.

9 UCL Medical School, University College London, London.

10 School of Medicine, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.

11 School of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.

12 School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

13 School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.

14 GKT School of Medical Education, King’s College London, London, UK.

15 School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.

16 School of Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

17 Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.

18 Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

19 St George’s, University of London, London, UK.

20 Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK.

21 School of Medicine, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

22 School of Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK.

23 School of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea, UK.

24 School of Medicine, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.

25 Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

26 School of Medicine, Keele University, Keele, UK.

27 Lincoln Medical School, University of Nottingham, Lincoln, UK.

28 School of Medicine, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK.

29 School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

30 School of Medicine, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK.

31 School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.

32 School of Medicine, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.

33 School of Medicine, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK.

34 School of Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

35 School of Medical Education, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK.

36 Hull York Medical School, Hull and York, UK.

37 School of Medicine, University of Buckingham, Buckingham, UK.

38 School of Medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

39 School of Medicine, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.

40 School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK.

41 Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton and Sussex, UK.

42 School of Medicine, Ulster University, Coleraine, UK.

43 School of Medicine, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK.

44 Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine (ScotGEM) Programme, Universities of St Andrews and Dundee, Scotland, UK.

45 School of Medicine, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK.

TF is the guarantor.

Queens’ College, University of Cambridge. The institution has had no role in the design of the study, nor collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript.

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  • Tomas Ferreira

School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK

Alexander M. Collins

Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

Tomas Ferreira, Alexander M. Collins & Arthur Handscomb

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  • , Alexander M. Collins
  • , Rita Horvath
  • , Oliver Feng
  • , Richard J. Samworth
  • , Mario K. Teo
  • , Crispin C. Wigfield
  • , Maeve K. Mulchrone
  • , Alisha Pervaiz
  • , Heather A. Lewis
  • , Anson Wong
  • , Buzz Gilks
  • , Charlotte Casteleyn
  • , Sara Kidher
  • , Erin Fitzsimons-West
  • , Tanzil Rujeedawa
  • , Meghna Sreekumar
  • , Eliza Wade
  • , Juel Choppy-Madeleine
  • , Yasemin Durmus
  • , Olivia King
  • , Yu Ning Ooi
  • , Malvi Shah
  • , Tan Jit Yih
  • , Samantha Burley
  • , Basma R. Khan
  • , Emma Slack
  • , Rishik S. Pilla
  • , Jenny Yang
  • , Vaishvi Dalal
  • , Brennan L. Gibson
  • , Emma Westwood
  • , Brandon S. H. Low
  • , Sara R. Sabur
  • , Wentin Chen
  • , Maryam A. Malik
  • , Safa Razzaq
  • , Amardeep Sidki
  • , Giulia Cianci
  • , Felicity Greenfield
  • , Sajad Hussain
  • , Alexandra Thomas
  • , Annie Harrison
  • , Hugo Bernie
  • , Luke Dcaccia
  • , Linnuel J. Pregil
  • , Olivia Rowe
  • , Ananya Jain
  • , Gregory K. Anyaegbunam
  • , Syed Z. Jafri
  • , Sudhanvita Arun
  • , Alfaiya Hashmi
  • , Ankith Pandian
  • , Joseph R. Nicholson
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  • , Anthony Vijayanathan
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  • , Sara Raja
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  • , Pranjil Pokharel
  • , Ashna Anil
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  • , Joshua Bayes-Green
  • , Mariam S. Malik
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  • , Sophie Kidd
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  • , Jessica L. Marshall
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  • , Medha Pillaai
  • , Sakshi Garg
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  • , Ben Sweeney
  • , Ria Bhatt
  • , Madison Slight
  • , Adan M. I. Chew
  • , Cameron Thurlow
  • , Kriti Yadav
  • , Niranjan Rajesh
  • , Nathan-Dhruv Mistry
  • , Alyssa Weissman
  • , Juan F. E. Jaramillo
  • , William Thompson
  • , Gregor W. Abercromby
  • , Emily Gaskin
  • , Chloe Milton
  • , Matthew Kokkat
  • , Momina Hussain
  • , Nana A. Ohene-Darkoh
  • , Syeda T. Islam
  • , Anushruti Yadav
  • , Eve Richings
  • , Samuel Foxcroft
  • , Sukhdev Singh
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  • , Ellena Leigh
  • , Harriet Charlton
  • , James A. Cairn
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  • , Mark J. Bishop
  • , Humairaa Ismail
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  • , Daniel C. Chalk
  • , Daniel J. Mckenna
  • , Fizah Hasan
  • , Kanishka Saxena
  • , Iona E. Gibson
  •  & Saad Dosani


T.F. responsible for conceptualisation. T.F. responsible for obtaining funding and ethical approval. T.F. responsible for collaborator recruitment and management. T.F. responsible for project administration. All authors responsible for writing the manuscript. All authors responsible for editing and revising the manuscript. T.F. responsible for supervision. T.F. is the guarantor. All authors have read and approved the manuscript.

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Ferreira, T., Collins, A.M., Handscomb, A. et al. The role of medical schools in UK students’ career intentions: findings from the AIMS study. BMC Med Educ 24 , 604 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-024-05366-6

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Greece school superintendent to retire; deputy superintendent to take role

what is role for education

Kathleen Graupman is retiring as superintendent of the Greece Central School District. The Board of Education voted Tuesday to accept her retirement. (File photo)

GREECE, N.Y. — The superintendent of the Greece Central School District is retiring.

The Board of Education Tuesday accepted the retirement of Kathleen Graupman, who has been at the helm of the biggest suburban school district in Monroe County for more than a decade. The board approved the appointment of Deputy Superintendent Jeremy Smalline as the new superintendent, effective Jan. 1, 2025 when Graupman’s retirement takes effect.

“Today marks a bittersweet moment for our school district as we formally accept Kathy Graupman’s retirement,” Board President Sean McCabe said during Tuesday’s meeting. “Kathy has dedicated her personal and professional life to Greece, and our community is undeniably better because of her contributions.”

Graupman was the president of the Monroe County School Boards Association during the COVID-18 pandemic. Before becoming superintendent, she was an assistant superintendent in both Greece and Hilton.

Smalline was promoted to deputy superintendent a year ago as part of a long-range succession plan. According to a release from the district, “He was selected because he possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to lead a large school system, as exhibited by his proven track record at Greece Central.”

Smalline joined the district in 2005 as an administrative intern and became an assistant principal at Longridge Elementary School a year later. In 2010, he was promoted to the role of principal at Longridge Elementary School. He was appointed as the Turnaround Initiative Principal in 2015. In 2017, he became Director of Student Services and School Improvement. he was appointed Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources in 2020 and Deputy Superintendent in May 2023.

“I am passionate about this district and eagerly anticipate collaborating with our strong Board of Education, our outstanding leadership team, our talented teachers and staff, and our incredible students and families as we continue to move Greece Central forward,” Smalline stated.


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