- Education beats poverty: one extra year of schooling increases a person’s earnings by up to 10%. 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills.
- Education promotes gender equality by helping women control how many children they have. In Mali, women with secondary education or higher have an average of three children, while those with no education have an average of seven children.
- Education reduces child mortality: a child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past age five. In Indonesia, child vaccination rates are 19% when mothers have no education and 68% when mothers have at least secondary school education.
- Education contributes to improved maternal health:women with higher levels of education are most likely to delay and space out pregnancies, and to seek health care and support.
- Education helps combat HIV, malaria and other preventable diseases. In addition, it facilitates access to treatment and fights against stigma and discrimination.
- Education encourages environmental sustainability. It allows people make decisions that meet the needs of the present without compromising those of future generations. The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), launched in 2005, urges countries to rethink education, curricula and teaching practice in ways that complement the drive to achieve EFA.
- Education helps global development. An estimated $16 billion in aid is needed annually to reach the EFA goals in poor countries. However, in 2008 poor countries received only $2 billion in aid for basic education. The worldwide military expenditure for 2009 was $1.5 trillion.