Education is one of the most effective tools to break the cycle of poverty. How can the public and private sector work together to address the enormous challenge of ensuring access to quality education for the young people of Asia, Middle East and Africa?
While governments are, and should continue to be, the guardian of education systems, it is crucial to acknowledge and understand the potential of the private sector in supporting this key sector. Increased private-public partnerships in the education field have the potential of amplifying the impact of interventions supported through philanthropy and the international community.
Dubai Cares encourages partnerships between the public and private sector in the hope that this will increase the predictability and sustainability of funding, and broaden commitment to overall development goals, notably in the education field. We are a key player in a number of international platforms where public and private firms work together.
For example, public-private partnership is important to support ‘Education in Emergencies’. This support cannot be the sole responsibility of one entity — we should join our efforts for the common good.
A great example of this effort is ‘Education Cannot Wait’ — a financing mechanism for ‘Education in Emergencies’ that involves government, non-government, philanthropic and private sector in a concerted effort to make a lasting change for the millions of children and youth who are out of school due to conflict or crisis. Another recent example is our new strategic partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF) that aims to support the reskilling revolution with a push to provide skills to 15 million people by 2021.
Our aim is to build a network of public-private partnerships in 10 countries initially, to be up-scaled to a total of 15 national economies by 2020, over half of which will be developing countries.
Fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) is a priority for Dubai Cares. How does the NTD programme fit into the larger goals of Dubai Cares?
NTDs keep children out of school, parents out of work, and cause stunting and impaired brain development, locking societies into endless cycles of poverty. One of Dubai Cares’ strategic approaches to improving children’s enrollment and learning outcomes is through an integrated school health and nutrition model that is made up of school-based deworming activities, school feeding, and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in schools. As part of Dubai Cares’ global efforts in fighting NTDs, 34.4 million children have benefited from our deworming activities in developing countries. Furthermore, out of the 34.4 million children who have received deworming treatment from Dubai Cares-funded mass drug administration (MDA) programmes, more than 2.8 million have also benefitted from integrated education and health programmes in countries like Palestine, Ethiopia, Angola, Vietnam and India.
How can leaders leverage leadership platforms like the ABLF to address the issue of universal learning in your opinion?
From my several field visits to Asian countries, I have noticed significant progress has been made in increasing enrollment, retention and completion rates and decreasing gender gaps. However, many children in some parts of the continent, are still out of school or do not have access to quality education.
I believe the ABLF is one of the platforms that can bring together governments, education stakeholders as well as partners from the private sector throughout the region to ensure education reaches the most vulnerable populations, that education systems work effectively for children, and that no child is left behind.