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Harvard’s UWC Impact Study



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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. 

However, to date, only limited empirical research has been available to demonstrate how a UWC education impacts the skills and attitudes of its graduates. UWC has therefore partnered with researchers from  The Good Project of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who are conducting a scientific study investigating the impact of a UWC education on the values and attitudes of our graduates: Harvard’s UWC Impact Study. 

The study, being conducted over four years, seeks to determine whether (and if so, how) UWC 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. This will explore the development of and changes in particular conceptions and behaviors over the course of the educational experience at a UWC school or college, and attempt to identify experiences that were particularly influential to students. A study of students at ten other (non-UWC) schools will allow for a robust comparison and identification of elements specific to a UWC educational experience. Students in these two cohorts are being surveyed and interviewed, and are also observed in the classroom and during extra-academic activities by the Project Zero researchers who are visiting each UWC over the course of the study period. The researchers are also conducting interviews with UWC faculty and staff.  

The second strand concerned UWC school and college alums who studied at UWC for their last two years of secondary school, who were 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.

The study is financed by anonymous donors from UWC but conducted entirely independently by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Read more about the Preliminary Study, which led to Harvard’s UWC Impact Study, here

If you want to know more about the methodology of the Impact Study, continue reading here

For any questions related to UWC's involvement in the study or technical problems please contact For any questions about the Impact Study itself, please contact Danny Mucinskas


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