Business Brief: Top 5 Education Moments to Look Forward to in 2018

Girls studying in Punjab region of Pakistan. Picture © Usman Ghani/DFID

Happy New Year from the Global Business Coalition for Education! With many successes over the past year – ranging from the launch of the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative to education financing taking center-stage at the G20 – we look forward to working together with the business community and all of our partners to achieve new advancements in education in the new year.

Here are the top five moments we think business should look forward to in 2018:

1. Youth work directly with business leaders to solve the skills crisis

In fewer than 15 years – unless we take action – it is expected that half of young people will not have the skills needed for a job. In September 2017, GBC-Education launched the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative, seeking to identify new models to enhance the skills and innovation readiness of young people – while inspiring collective action among the business community, civil society, government leaders, and youth in order to bolster the skills of our next generation of innovators.

In 2018, the Youth Skills and Innovation Commission will release important recommendations that business can implement to mobilize tangible pledges and action. Youth will be at the center of these solutions and developing new ideas to put the next generation on a new course for employment, innovation, and opportunity.

2. New partnerships formed with business to improve education prospects in emergencies

From floods and earthquakes to war and violence, it is estimated that as many as 75 million children will have their education interrupted due to emergencies this year. The Rapid Education Action (REACT) initiative connects business with implementation partners and the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund to deliver essential educational opportunities to children in need.

At this year’s IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings, GBC-Education will launch a new digital platform – a user-friendly interface that will make real-time connections between organizations delivering education in crisis environments and businesses seeking to provide support. The REACT platform will allow a new wave of innovation as business makes its resources and talent more accessible to solve challenges as they arise.

3. Argentina puts education front and center at the G20

Last year, G20 countries agreed to a meaningful breakthrough for global education. The leaders of the largest and richest countries acknowledged the bold recommendation for an International Finance Facility for Education and committed to shaping its development over the next year under the Argentine G20 presidency.

The Argentine presidency of the G20 will prioritize educational opportunity throughout 2018 and place special emphasis on employment and skills. We expect major announcements from G20 leaders backing education as well.

4. New investment models in education finance

GBC-Education will be working with partners to advance new models in education financing, including a new outcomes fund to incentivize the delivery of results.  

In 2018, the Global Partnership for Education, the Education Cannot Wait fund, and the new International Finance Facility for Education will provide new avenues for business investment in education.

5. Business improves the bottom line by investing early

Evidence shows that investing in the most marginalized children with quality early childhood development (ECD) not only improves economic prospects but also equips young people with the “soft skills” employers seek out later in life. Last year, GBC-Education launched the business case, Investing Smart, Investing Early and will continue to prioritize more action  to support families and children through quality ECD. As we continue to provide tools for the private sector to make the business case for supporting early childhood development, we expect to see more companies standing out as they recognize the shared value from investing in ECD.