Commentary | Published:

Make secondary education universal

Nature volume 456, pages 572573 (04 December 2008) | Download Citation


The time is right to push global learning beyond primary-school level, says Joel E. Cohen. The benefits could include a dramatically smaller increase in world population by 2050.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    , & (eds) Educating All Children: A Global Agenda (MIT Press, 2007).

  2. 2.

    Population Reference Bureau Women's Education and Family Size in Selected Countries, 1990s (2008). Available at

  3. 3.

    Women's Education, Autonomy, and Reproductive Behaviour: Experience from Developing Countries (Clarendon Press, 1995).

  4. 4.

    Demography 39, 233–250 (2002).

  5. 5.

    Pop. Stud. 58, 177–192 (2004).

  6. 6.

    Sci. Am. 293, 48–55 (2005).

  7. 7.

    , & The World's Youth Data Sheet 2006 (Population Reference Bureau, 2006).

  8. 8.

    United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision. Available at

  9. 9.

    & Finance and Development 42, 8–14 (International Monetary Fund, 2005).

  10. 10.

    & International Perspectives on the Goals of Universal Basic & Secondary Education (Routledge, in the press).

Download references

Author information


  1. Joel E. Cohen is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations at the Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York 10065, USA, and professor of populations at Columbia University in New York.

    • Joel E. Cohen


  1. Search for Joel E. Cohen in:

About this article

Publication history



To discuss this topic, visit


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing