Professors Without Borders Think Tank

Professors Without Borders is committed to empowering women through education, increasing the quality of their livelihood and enabling them to contribute to the development of their community and society.

Historically, women have faced many barriers to accessing education — a fundamental human right. Gender inequality within socio-cultural norms and financial problems have presented challenges to achieving universal education for women and young girls. In developing countries, many parents living in small rural villages simply lack the funds to pay class fees, textbooks and other essential resources. With the acceptance of conservative and patriarchal views, boys are prioritised, seen as a wiser investment. The educational aspirations of girls are left suppressed, expected to marry off into another family, devoting their time and effort into domestic tasks, learning to become good mothers and wives. Young women are also deterred from travelling long distances in order to reach schools and colleges due to fears of sexual harassment.

132 million girls, ages 6 to 17, are not being educated. According to the World Bank, this costs $15 trillion in lost lifetime productivity and earnings. The social effect of this trend is just as worrisome; aggravating health issues, poverty, diminishing future prospects and the subsequent progression of local communities. Yet, according to the Financial Time’s The Value of Knowledge Initiative, something as simple as building schools nearer to homes, employing the right teachers, available transportation and textbooks can change all this. For example, The RISE programme in Ghana has chosen to hold classes in the afternoon so that the student’s schedule fits around household chores and farming duties.

Just like the RISE programme, Professors Without Borders recognises that investing in girls’ education is socially fair and makes economic sense. Aiming to bridge the educational divide between countries, the reduction of world-wide illiteracy rates remains a goal at the heart of the organisation. Through operating customised short-term summer schools in poor rural areas and publishing innovative policy suggestions via their think-tank, Professors Without Borders is gradually removing the inequality that is hindering the spread of knowledge to women across the world

Since 2016, Professors Without Borders has joined the movement: running free 2-week programmes during the summer, teaching courses such as civil society, global finance and negotiation skills in India, Thailand, Sierra Leone and Uganda. Now, Professors Without Borders has recently launched The Women in Higher Education Initiative,using its experience and network to support the recruitment and retention of female students at university. With a proven track record of partnering with all-women colleges: Karamat Girl’s P.G College in India and African Rural University in Uganda, Professor Without Borders remains determined to ensure that quality education is accessible to all girls internationally.

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