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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Ensuring Access to Quality Education



Discover the connections between education and key international development issues. Students will analyze recent progress in the movement to provide universal primary education and examine the connections between literacy and poverty. Finally, students will write reflective essays articulating their own views on the value of education and how the world can better achieve the goal of learning for all.


Access to quality education is a major goal for international development.  On an individual level, education can improve a person’s ability to think critically, solve problems, and make informed decisions for themselves and their communities. Education also has the power to lift people out of poverty, promote gender equality in society, improve knowledge about health and nutrition, promote sustainable development, and improve global cooperation—making it an important foundation for global advancement in many areas.


You will investigate the connections between access to education and a variety of key global issues. Looking at school enrollment rates and trends around the world, you will analyze recent progress in the movement to provide universal primary education. You will also identify the existing challenges.

Next, you will focus on educational quality, and ensuring that school enrollment results in improved literacy and learning. You will look specifically at the connections between literacy and poverty both in the United States and in the world. You will also explore examples of the ways people in your community, as well as around the world, are working to improve learning opportunities.

Finally, you will craft your own reflective essay on the value of education for individuals, communities, and the world and on how we can better achieve the goal of learning for all. 

Print the information collection worksheet and use it to record information as you work through the WebQuest.


Your work will be evaluated according to the chart on the extension tab below.

Materials & Procedures


  1. What makes education an important global issue?

    Think about the ways that education connects to other important global issues. For each issue listed below, give an example of how education might help alleviate related problems.

    • Poverty and hunger
    • Gender equality and women’s empowerment
    • Child mortality
    • Maternal health
    • HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
    • Environmental sustainability

    Navigate through the presentation Education Counts.

    • What did you find most compelling? List three concepts that interested you.
  2. Who has access to schooling?

    In the United States, state laws typically require students to be in school until about age 16. This means that nearly 100% of U.S. children complete their primary education (through about 6th grade).

    In some parts of the world, completion rates of primary school are much lower. The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal for education is to ensure that all children in the world are able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

    View the world map showing school enrollment rates.

    • What trends do you notice?

    View the graphs showing the global number of out-of-school children, primary school completion rates, and youth literacy rates over time.

    • What improvements do you see over time? What are the existing problems?
  3. Beyond school enrollment – Learning for All

    The World Bank states:

    The overarching goal is not just schooling, but learning. Getting millions more children into school has been a great achievement… The driver of development will, however, ultimately be what individuals learn…

    …Growth, development, and poverty reduction depend on the knowledge and skills that people acquire, not the number of years that they sit in a classroom.

    Learning levels that have been measured in many developing countries are alarmingly low, especially among disadvantaged populations. ... In some countries, recent studies show that a quarter to a half of youth who have graduated from primary school cannot read a single sentence.

    (source: Learning for All)

    View the graphic showing youth literacy rates by country compared to average per-person income.

    • What trends do you notice? Do you think similar trends exist in the United States?
    • Compare poverty rates by state and literacy rates by state. Describe what you noticed about literacy in states where the poverty rate is above average and below average.  Then read the facts about poverty and education in America.
    • How do you think poverty influences a person’s education? How do you think education influences poverty?
  4. How can we expand opportunities for quality education and learning for all?

    View the examples of how Peace Corps Volunteers are working to foster learning in communities around the world.

    What do Volunteers Do? – Education

    • If you could support education overseas like Peace Corps Volunteers do, where would you go and what would you do?
    • Describe an example of a person or organization that is working to improve education and foster learning in your own community. 
  5. Reflection

    Reflect on the research you’ve done so far and write an essay address the following themes:

    • Why is access to quality education valuable for individuals, communities, and the world?
    • On a local and global scale, what does learning for all mean and how can it be achieved?

    You can refer to the information and websites you’ve visited in this WebQuest, or other outside resources to support your writing. Be sure to articulate your own opinions and use evidence to support your points.

  6. Conclusion

    Reflect on your experience by writing about or discussing:

    • How does education influence international development?
    • Why are there inequalities in access to education and learning?
    • What can I do to pursue the goal of learning for all?


Students articulate views on the value of education Views not clearly articulated Views somewhat articulated Views clearly articulated Views clearly articulated along with compelling supporting arguments  
Students describe connections between education and other global issues Connections not clearly described Few connections described Multiple connections clearly described Multiple connections clearly described; specific examples are given  
Analyze trends in global school enrollment, school completion, and literacy Trends not clearly described or analyzed Some trends described and analyzed Trends clearly described and analyzed. Trends clearly described and analyzed in depth  
Students use data to interpret potential relationships between poverty and educational opportunities  Interpretations from data not provided Some interpretations from data are provided Thoughtful interpretations from data are provided Thoughtful interpretations from data are provided and elaborated upon  
Students suggest and describe strategies to foster learning for all No strategies suggested Few strategies suggested and described Multiple strategies suggested and described Multiple strategies suggested and described; strategies draw from information gathered throughout the WebQuest  
World Wise Speakers

Invite a Peace Corps volunteer into your classroom to share what it's like to live a global life by sharing stories, cultures and knowledge.