Over 50 years after the founding of the first UWC college in 1962, the UWC movement continues to educate young people with its mission to “make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. An education based on the UWC educational model is believed to empower young people to become changemakers for a better future and enable each of them to have a positive impact on the world.

But is this true? Researchers from The Good Project of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education want to know, so have launched the most important study in the history of the UWC movement: Harvard’s UWC Impact Study.

The study, being conducted over four years, seeks to determine whether (and if so, how) UWC school and college graduates become forces for a more peaceful and sustainable future. The study’s findings will enable the UWC movement to improve its educational programme with a view to strengthening the UWC mission, and are expected to be of interest to the wider educational field as well.

The study consists of two strands. The first is a longitudinal study of two cohorts of students (beginning in 2018 and 2019 [2019 and 2020 for Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa]), from their entry into the first year of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme through their UWC graduation.

The second strand concerns UWC school and college alums (who studied at UWC for their last two years of secondary/high school), who are being asked to contribute to the study by participating in an online survey and/or interview in order to help the researchers understand how a UWC education impacts UWC graduates’ lives, and whether it affects the impact UWC alums are having on society or their communities.

If you studied at a UWC school or college for your last two years of secondary school, take part today! By dedicating about 30-40 minutes to the survey, you will play an invaluable part in the most important study ever to be conducted about our UWC movement. You will be part of the answer to the question: does UWC really make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future?

You will also have the chance to sign up for an interview with the researchers, which will provide the study with even more valuable insights into your individual UWC experience.

Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education is conducting the Impact Study with absolute independence and your response will remain completely anonymous.

Make your voice heard. Be part of a truly global, inclusive, cross-generational reflection on the impact of a UWC education. Take the survey today. We are counting on you to help us improve UWCevery voice matters!

For more information about Harvard’s UWC Impact Study and the alum survey, including its methodology, click here. Questions? Contact communications@uwcio.uwc.org.

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Howard Gardner, the Principal Investigator, says this:

“My colleagues and I at Harvard Project Zero are delighted to be carrying out an extensive study of the educational program of the United World Colleges. The purpose of the study is to investigate the effectiveness of the UWC curriculum as well as the broader overall mission of the UWC movement.

Our study involves an extensive and longitudinal survey of current students on the campuses, as well as site visits to all campuses during which we conduct selective interviews of students, faculty, and administrators. We are also interviewing and surveying UWC alumni about their experiences while attending UWC and their principal activities in the years thereafter. A unique feature of the study is a parallel examination of the effectiveness of the educational programs of selective secondary schools that are comparable in various ways to UWC schools.

We believe that this study is unprecedented in its depth and breadth and will be useful both to the UWC movement and to all those who seek to provide high-quality education to students at the secondary level.

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