More than 750 world leaders, business leaders, government ministers, and education experts will gather in the UAE on March 15th-17th to tackle the global crisis in education.
The 2nd annual Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF), dubbed the ‘Davos of Education’, will assemble one of the most distinguished group of leaders, captains of industry and educators to tackle the world’s "ticking time-bomb” of 57 million children not in primary school.
The meeting has been organised in partnership between UNESCO, the UAE Ministry of Education, GEMS Education, the Varkey GEMS Foundation and Dubai Cares, in support of the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative, to discuss the global challenges of a growing young population, a huge education funding gap, the changing nature of skills and work as well as profound technological changes.
Confirmed speakers and attendees include Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO; Andreas Schleicher, Deputy Director for Education and Skills at the OECD; and George Papandreou, Former Prime Minister of Greece. The forum will also include board level representatives from multinationals such as SAP, Air Asia, Crescent Petroleum, Samsung, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, PwC, Deloitte, Aruba NetwVikas Pota, CEO of the
Varkey GEMS Foundation, said: “This forum will challenge the world’s leaders to find real solutions to the most crucial issue of our time: education. We face a ticking time bomb of an entire generation being uneducated or unprepared for a new world of work. There is no time left for talking shops; we need to take decisions that result in real & rapid change.”
“The private sector has a track record of disrupting the status quo, and for this reason, we are delighted that business leaders from across the world are joining us at this summit. By bringing together the best brains from business, the policy arena and the NGO sector, we stand a better chance of achieving the change that will actually deliver for children and young adults all over the world. "
The forum, taking place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, kicks off with an Opening Ceremony at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi on the evening of March 15, with a performance choreographed by the producers of the London Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Two days of deliberations, keynotes and workshops will follow at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai. Attendees will also be able to tour schools in Dubai on March 18 to see first-hand how the concepts they had debated are being applied.
“The Global Education and Skills Forum is an important opportunity to engage in the key challenges facing education in the coming years, presenting different nations’ experiences in policy, techniques and technology,” said Humaid al Qatami, the UAE Minister of Education. “The future of education relies on partnership between various sectors of the economy to cultivate and shape the minds of the future and prepare them for work in an interconnected world. I look forward to enlightening debate and engagement on these and other issues.”
Irina Bokova, Director–General of UNESCO, said: "The global learning crisis is holding back all social and economic progress and hurting marginalized girls and women the hardest. We need political resolve, innovation and dynamic partnerships to set the world on a sustainable path to growth.
By bringing together governments, business, civil society and youth leaders, this Forum will build bridges between the worlds of education and work, and show that universal quality education is everyone's business because it holds the key to shared prosperity, social inclusion and peace."