Last year, the businesses who make up the Global Business Coalition for Education produced some remarkable results for children worldwide. As we enter 2019, there is an incredible opportunity for the business community to play a transformational role in building a movement where skills, talent, and opportunity for the next generation are front and center.
The rationale for business to be part of the movement for global education is clear. Investing in education leads to greater economic growth, improved health outcomes, better operating environments for business, and more peaceful, stable societies, to name a few of the positive benefits. And the more champions there are advocating for free, inclusive, and equitable quality education for all – and supporting the teachers and educators to deliver on this mandate – the better off the world is.
So what needs to happen? Our vision is straight forward: every child deserves the best start, a safe place to learn, and every young person should be equipped with the skills for the future. We can achieve this by funding education, making it inclusive, and innovating to tackle the barriers which prevent learning from being delivered at scale. Only through next-generation partnerships and campaigns which engage young people themselves can this be achieved.
Against the backdrop of half of the youth generation being left behind when it comes to skills for the future, we are ready to hit the ground running.
Here are a few areas where the Global Business Coalition for Education will make a difference this year:
Until countries and communities invest in young people, we will never be able to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Fortunately, there are a several opportunities where business will have a seat at the table and can contribute to larger investments. This year, the International Finance Facility for Education will be established and funded to leverage new money into systems prepared to deliver results. There will also be unique opportunities for business to work with other major global funds to drive forward progress and partnerships as well as ways for investors to support new means of raising innovative finance.
Localizing the skills agenda — with a global vision
Our report with Deloitte, Preparing tomorrow’s workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, For business: A framework for action, has put forward a vision and pathway for the business community to work with young people to prepare the next generation of innovators, makers and entrepreneurs for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. And in our own work, and throught our role on the Global Board of the UNICEF Generation Unlimited Initiative, we will work at both a global and local level to make this a reality. Be on the lookout for new announcements from our Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative and a major skills summit later this year in India where we will look at how business in South Asia can take some of the solutions in the region to scale.
Supporting Education in Emergencies and Safe Schools
I was inspired at our first staff meeting of the year to learn that two of our businesses are already launching initiatives to support education for refugees in Uganda aligned with the Education Cannot Wait multi-year plan in 2019. HP is set to deliver its School Cloud technology to a dozen schools and Avanti Communication is delivering broadband connectivity at no cost to Social Innovation Academy, an NGO that works to foster social entrepreneurship to refugee youth and orphans. As demonstrated by these partnerships, our Rapid Education Action (REACT) Initiative is making major strides in linking up businesses committed to contributing their skills, talent, employees, and resources to solve some of the most immediate challenges faced by organizations and governments working on the frontlines of natural disasters, conflict, and humanitarian emergencies to deliver education. Throughout the year, our digital platform will become even more user-friendly and outreach with our partners will train more local groups to identify challenges where the business community can provide support. This is all in thanks to the 50+ companies supporting these efforts and the support of RELX group, its data and analytics unit LexisNexis Risk Solutions, and the Arconic Foundation.
Bringing Forward Youth Voices
Through our Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative and Theirworld Global Youth Ambassadors, we will place the voices, ideas, and innovation of young people front and center. The youth entrepreneurs of today are using their know-how and technology to drive forward the next wave of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with a focus on social impact. We will work with young people to identify solutions to a wide range of challenges, including inclusion for children with disabilities, and produce a new series of digital forums and policy briefs where youth, experts, and business will explore how technology and innovation – ranging from blockchain to artificial intelligence — can drive forward progress.
This year has the potential to be a watershed for global education – and identifying the most strategic ways for the business community to make an impact alongside youth, communities, and governments is a top priority. I look forward to making 2019 a new opportunity for all to “Write the Wrong” for all of the young people at risk of missing out on a quality education.
To learn more about GBC-Education or how you may become involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.