Children learning in Somalia. Photo © UNICEF Somalia Education Cluster
A campaign has been set into motion to establish a new International Finance Facility for Education as youth campaigners delivered over 1.5 million signatures in a petition to the United Nations. The petition was received by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, the President of the Inter-American Development Bank Luis Moreno, the Vice President of the World Bank Annette Dixon, and the Former President of Tanzania and Education Commissioner, Jakaya Kikwete.
Major business leaders have backed the Facility, including Jack Ma of Alibaba, Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group, and Strive Masiyiwa of Econet Wireless.
The Facility is an innovative way to finance education globally by new funding streams for education by multiplying donor resources and motivating countries to increase their own investments. The Facility uses an innovative guarantee scheme from donor countries to create new financing through the multilateral development banks and aid funding to reduce the interest rates to very concessional levels so that countries can invest today to address the urgent needs of human capital development.
In the coming decades, as technology, demographic shifts, and globalization continue to rapidly reshape the world we live in, economies will shift depending on their intellectual resources more than their physical resources. As manufacturing produces more with less, the previous routes to full employment are closing and future jobs based on technical skills will matter more to a developing economy.
Jack Ma of Alibaba said, “the knowledge-based approach to learning of centuries ago will fail our children who will never be able to compete with machines in the workforce of the fourth industrial revolution. Children should be taught “soft skills” like independent thinking, values and teamwork — and the International Finance Facility for Education gives countries the opportunity to revolutionize the teaching and learning process to prepare the next generation to thrive in our global society. It is an effort that all who care about the future should get behind.”
The Facility is aimed at prompting countries to increase their own investments in education as well. It is envisioned that the $10 billion in finance from the Facility could in turn motivate an additional $100 billion in domestic investments. The large-scale investments generated by the Facility means more opportunities for businesses to work with governments to provide innovative educational solutions. The financing would go towards initiatives including using technology for teaching and learning, skills training, early childhood development, primary and secondary education, and initiatives on girls’ education.
Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group said, “as an industrialist, inclusive and quality education opens the door to development and growth. Through the funding mechanism of the International Finance Facility for Education, I am optimistic that new opportunity for countries to invest in human capital and scale up quality of workforce for the 21st century will blossom.”
Most importantly, young people will be prepared for the job market of the future, ready to become the next generation of innovators, teachers, and leaders – and able to realize and contribute all their talents. It is estimated that if investments in education reach the level necessary, GDP per capita in low-income countries will be almost 70 percent higher by 2050 than if current trends continued. Extreme poverty rates will be reduced by one-third due to education alone.
The Facility has the power to help tens of millions of children go to school and prepare millions more young people for the future of work. The opportunity to give every child a quality education is within our grasp. It’s time to make the impossible possible.
To learn more, visit: http://educationcommission.org/international-finance-facility-education/