Global Education, Childhoods and Outreach (GECO) is a research cluster housed in the School of Education and Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. GECO’s research engages with education and childhood with a focus on social justice and the right of the child, especially the right to education. Quality education is a human right for every child, yet it is denied to more than 100 million children worldwide. These children often face multiple barriers to accessing or engaging in education including poverty, war, and exclusion based on gender or ethnicity. It is GECO’s mission to engage in research that contributes to the alleviation of these barriers through multidisciplinary research including:

  • Citizenship education
  • Education Policy Cycles
  • Education leadership
  • Education in conflict affected countries
  • Education for Development
  • Gender & Identity
  • Teacher training
  • Transitions to adulthood

Our experience and commitment to global education and childhoods research is integrated into our teaching programme in the School of Education and Sociology. We offer specialist units within our undergraduate courses in Early Childhood Studies and Childhood and Youth, Masters level support and doctoral supervision. We aim to provide current undergraduate and graduate students opportunities for study exchange, volunteer placement and research across the world as well as to engage and support international students through our cluster.

About us

The members of GECO come from a variety of professional, academic, and regional backgrounds in international development and school leadership. We have expertise in education and childhoods in the Global South including Central and South Asia, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Brazil. Our research expertise are within education and leadership, the role of education in conflict affected countries, gender, citizenship education, teacher training, and transitions to adulthood. We bring varied research method experience focusing on qualitative research including case study, participatory methods and life narratives, among others. Our research produces impact by means of informing practice and enabling change. We have developed wide networks of collaborations across the Global South, and routinely collaborate with non-academic partners as consultants.

We work towards producing an understanding of what education looks like for different groups of people around the globe, while pushing for a social justice and human rights agenda worldwide. Childhood is for us a contested phase of life: its borders are contextual, and temporal. It is our aim to problematise the association between childhood and education by challenging what the first entails in different parts of the world and the role that the latter plays in preparing children for their roles in society.