Professors Without Borders Think Tank

We conduct independent global and country-specific research on the state of education, present and future, often sourcing original data from our parent NGO Professors Without Borders (Prowibo). The objective of our reports is to share our experience in education and development with the public with the aim of raising awareness, improving teaching and influencing policy. Whenever possible, we aim to enhance the understanding of important developments and critical insights through the use of nuanced local voices.

We welcome unsolicited articles and authors who would like to co-author a paper with our network. We are happy to connect writers with relevant researchers who will support them in the development of reports.

Authors can submit articles and any other material they would like to communicate to Sven Botha at Please do not hesitate to email with your inquiries and report concepts.

Research Papers

Increasing Access to Higher Education in India (January 2022)

This paper by Kaustubh Dighe addresses the problem that quality education remains a growing concern in India. This concern could be attributed to various socio-political and economic factors that inhibit access to quality education in India. These factors, coupled with the data provided by the All-India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report of 2019-20, contextualise the gravity of the difficulties faced by minorities and underprivileged strata of society in accessing Indian Higher Education. The extensive analysis of the aforementioned proposition forms the scope of this paper.

The Future of Higher Education in India: An Analysis of the National Education Policy 2020 (January 2021)

This paper by Kaustubh Dighe provides an analysis of the ‘National Education Policy 2020’ (NEP 2020) in India and the potential effects of the implementation of the policy. The paper examines the NEP 2020’s impact of cultural, structural, and economic reforms on India’s higher education system. The NEP 2020 is the first extensive education reform in three decades. The policy intends to advance the higher education system to be on par with institutions in the western hemisphere while still retaining elements of Indian culture. While the NEP 2020 has ambitious goals to overhaul and centralise the higher education system, there is uncertainty surrounding the intended and unintended effects of policy implementation. This paper analyses the potential impacts of the NEP 2020 and how the policy may shape the future of higher education in India.

Examining Early Predictors of Student Academic Performance (February 2020)

This paper by Gabriel Inchausti examines a variety of tools that allow the measurement of the relative importance of different determinants of academic performance in school with a focus on non-cognitive factors. Such tools can bring more information to educators and improve their strategies when facing a student in the class, or when discussing a new program to be applied in the school. While teachers and professors have plenty of well-developed and structured devices to assess the evolution of hard skills traditionally associated with learning, tools for evaluation of non-cognitive aspects are less generalized. The application of specific instruments to measure and give visibility to those non-cognitive skills present an opportunity to better assess student trajectory and the efficacy of teaching strategies. In education, as in any other field, good decisions depend on good measurement.

Examining Collective Teacher Efficacy and its Impact on Student Performance (August 2019)

Student performance in the classroom is impacted by a variety of internal and external factors. While students enter the classroom with their own unique sets of capabilities, it is important to understand how teachers and their beliefs about students influence student performance. In this paper, Gabriel Inchausti examines how teacher beliefs about group efficacy influence student performance in the classroom. To analyze how teachers develop their perceptions of collective teacher efficacy (CTE), Inchausti utilizes the Goddard et al assessment of CTE and examines the four sources of CTE. This paper also utilizes Inchausti’s own case study conducted in South America, to evaluate how the use of CTE questionnaires can provide a greater understanding of how to improve collective efficacy in schools.

University Retention and Recruitment of Women in Developing Countries (July 2019)

This report by Njomeza Blakcori presents an overview of the social, economic, environmental and institutional barriers that affect student retention and recruitment in the Global South. The purpose of this document is to present
information on recent trends and to demonstrate potential strategies to improve the institutional capacities of universities to effectively recruit and retain students.

Theories of Intelligence: The Great Left Brain Versus Right Brain Debate (May 2019)

Students across generations and countries have long engaged in the great right brain versus left brain debate. Many students internalise negative perceptions about their own intelligence and simply accept that they “are not a numbers person”. This paper by Gabriel Inchausti examines the validity of the great left brain versus right brain debate and undercover how students’ negative perceptions of their intelligence impact learning. Through his research, Inchausti outlines how educators can develop interventions for students based on alternate theories of intelligence with reference to the work of Carol Dweck. The report utilizes the author’s primary findings from experiments conducted in South American schools.

The Impact of Faculty Diversity on Graduation Rates (October 2018)

In her research, Samantha Fu examines the advantages of diversity through data analysis of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the United States. The NCES conducts annual surveys for higher education institutions. The data collected in these surveys fall under the umbrella of several categories, encompassing institutional characteristics, enrolments, completions and graduation rates, student and faculty demographics, finances, and admissions. In this paper no relationship is found between faculty diversity as proxied by ethnic minority status and graduation rates of minority students, significant positive relationships are found between faculty diversity as proxied by gender and graduation rates of female students.

Determinants of Academic Performance, A Behavioural Science Approach (July 2018)

In this paper, researcher Gabriel Inchausti focuses on students as decision makers, using a Behavioural Science approach. Combining elements taken from psychology, neuroscience and economics, Behavioural Science dives into the specific mechanisms activated when humans make decisions. From that standpoint, it is possible to target the determinants that push students into poor decision-making processes, improving their academic performance. This paper suggests that governments can make huge cost efficiencies and improve standards at the same time by employing and understanding of learner behaviours in their approaches to schools, curricula and colleges.

The impact of the Ebola outbreak on tertiary institutions in Sierra Leone (April 2018)

Researchers Yanoh Jalloh and Mucktarr Raschid of Professors Without Borders interviewed students and faculty members from Fourah Bay College (FBC), Milton Margai College, and the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) – 4 of the country’s 17 higher education institutions. Researchers conducted a thorough evaluation of the existing literature and drew from researchers’ experiences in the country. The report recommends developing distance learning programs and improving mental health and crisis planning, including financial planning.