IDRC believes in the power of Southern-based research to help people fulfill their fundamental right to education, whether they are children in primary or secondary school, students in vocational education and training, or researchers and academics in higher education, particularly women.
As part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, IDRC funds and supports research in the Global South to help the world reach its goal of ensuring access to quality education for all, especially children and youth from vulnerable populations. This goal — complex to begin with — has been made even more challenging by COVID-19. According to a joint report by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank, more than 50% of the 10-year-old children in low- and middle-income countries could not read and understand a simple story before the pandemic. The report forecasts that this share will rise sharply, potentially reaching up to 70% of 10-year-olds.
To help reverse the learning losses, IDRC is committed to testing and scaling innovations to improve access to quality education, particularly for girls and marginalized groups like refugees and other forcibly displaced people. Already, an IDRC-supported project has developed a series of recommendations to help school systems in Africa prepare for future shocks to education.
IDRC investments in education since 2016
IDRC’s most important current investment in education is the Knowledge and Information Exchange (KIX), a CAD103 million joint endeavour with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Now into its third year, GPE-KIX is successfully scaling promising education innovations and strengthening country partners’ capacities to address their education challenges. Learn more.
This innovative, locally responsive research approach to improving education in the Global South is based on decades of experience. From taking the lead in focusing on primary education in the 1970s, to founding a global network aimed at advancing international policies in education (NORRAG), to partnering with leading organizations to develop digital learning tools, and to improving access to higher education with initiatives like the Queen Elizabeth Scholars, IDRC has proven to be a central player in international educational assistance and a prominent champion for Southern-based innovations.
Key moments in IDRC’s education story
Education is a basic human right, one that is recognized as a key driver in reducing poverty and achieving gender equality. At IDRC, we believe that research is the key to overcoming these and other challenges that stand in the way of making this world a more equitable one for all.