To coincide with the annual World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DC, GBC-Education gathered together members of the global education community to discuss how the business sector can collaborate with international agencies to deliver education to the 58 million out-of-school children. In addition to identifying new opportunities for financing, the business community brings unique assets (listed in table below) to the global effort to meet the promise made in MDG2.
||Donor Agency Assets
Read more in our Business Investments and Public Sector Resources for Global Education thought piece.
GBC-Education Executive Chair Sarah Brown led a panel that included Elias Bou Saab, Lebanese Minister of Education and Higher Education; Claudia Costin, Senior Director for Education at the World Bank Group; and Patrick Gaston, President of the Western Union Foundation.
During the panel, Claudia Costin explained there is a great precedent for private sector engagement in education. Drawing on the example of Brazil, where she used to be Education Minister, Costin explained that it was recognised that without popular experience and recognition of quality education, it was difficult to mobilise pressure for change. The private sector’s development of an index of education was crucial in giving a baseline from which advocacy for increased investment could begin.
Minister Elias Bou Saab offered the perspective from a country struggling to deliver education in one of the largest refugee crises the world has ever seen. The scale of the challenge that Lebanon faces is the equivalent of the USA expanding its education system to accommodate 70 million refugees.
The Minister recognized that it would be impossible for any country to meet this challenge on their own. Lebanon could only hope to meet their goal of delivering education to so many so rapidly with collaboration and innovation – and that this could only be done with a mindset that is open to new ideas and ways of working.
Patrick Gaston spoke about the nature of Western Union’s core business and its huge global reach and how the Western Union Foundation is uniquely positioned to collaborate with NGOs to develop products that can deliver education, especially in emergency situations. Mr Gaston highlighted the Western Union NGO Global Pay as an example of such products.
In the closing remarks, Claudia Costin emphasized that we cannot make public policy normal when we’re facing an education crisis of this scale, as well as be open to working with technology – and keep the importance of skills to help students in the forefront of what we do.
And A World at School’s Global Youth Ambassadors, Cedric Nwafor and Selamawit Adugna Bekele, contributed to the discussion as young campaigners. They are both part of a growing network of young people campaigning with millions of others involved in the #UpForSchool campaign. The #UpForSchool petition can only be strengthened with the support of businesses.
As we work to keep the promise of universal primary education made in 2000, and look forward to a new, more ambitious agenda, the value and need for collaboration between private and public sectors to scale up and secure results. Renewed and increased collaboration has great potential to scale up and secure results to ensure that every child can realize their right to education efforts.
Watch the archive of the entire conversation below:
Photos by Duy Tran/Global Business Coalition for Education