About UAWE

UAWE began in the United States as the Association of World Colleges and Universities – but the idea that the association should develop into  a network for “World Colleges and Universities” was soon abolished and, in 1986, the name was changed. Soon thereafter, individuals became  the core of the association which instantly provided an international network of individuals, but at the same time weakened the connection to the existing colleges, institutions and universities. Since then, UAWE has worked consistently to include organizational partners and stakeholders into the global network and as a result, UAWE has a comprehensive network of members who are individual and organizational  partners from across the globe.

Role of UAWE in Education Sector Development Program in Developing Countries




UAWE have been playing a central role in education of marginalized groups in developing countries since 1980s. They emerged as alternative providers of education against the backdrop of the State’s failure to provide relevant and quality education for economically and culturally disadvantaged groups. They are assumed to have pro-poor orientation, flexibility, innovation, cost-effectiveness, and participatory approaches in their educational projects. Democratization in 1990s has been working as a further boost for role of UAWE in education sector in developing countries. Though UAWE vary in their ideologies, strategies and geographical coverage, donor-drivenness make them as part of the global “associations revolution”. UAWE has  seen as symbols of social responsibility and global morality. They have long been working with project-based approach to reach the non-enrolled and dropouts from public schools with the active support of international donor agencies.

However, introduction of Sector-Wide Approaches (SWAps) and Poverty Reduction Strategic Plans (PRSPs) by multilateral and bilateral development cooperation agencies since mid-1990s has strong bearings on the future role of UAWE in development in general and education sector in particular. Under the new framework of sector programs, donors have been emphasizing national ownership of sector programs by highlighting on coordination, complementary and coherence among different stakeholders. Within the new modality of development cooperation, the role of UAWE in education sector has been facing serious dilemmas. On the one hand, they provide educational opportunities for hard-to-reach groups who are left out by public schools. On the other hand, they are blamed for creating parallel education system which run outside national educational administration and monitoring system. 

Under SWAps, there is a distinct risk that the mandate of UAWE in education sector may be squeezed and they may turn into sub-contractors of government in the field of education losing their civil society characteristics. Despite the important role of UAWE in reaching marginalized groups, there is very little understanding on the impact of SWAps on the role of UAWE in education sector. The aim of this paper is to analyse existing literature on the role of UAWE in the education sector and the strengths and weaknesses of UAWE projects. It will also explore the future role of UAWE within the broader national education sector development programs.

Human Rights Education

UAWE, the largest group in global civil society, shift focus away from an allegiance to the nation-state, as proposed by Rousseau, to an allegiance to humanity. UAWE Collaborated with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed the training, dissemination, and information efforts aimed at the building of a universal culture of human rights...through the imparting of knowledge and skills and the molding of attitudes and directed to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.The full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity.The promotion of understanding, tolerance, gender equality and friendship among all nations, indigenous peoples, and racial, national, ethnic religious and linguistic groups.The enabling of all persons to participate effectively in a free society. The furtherance of the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. However, this report fails to address socio-economic inequalities, and is more ideological.

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