Three new alliances to tackle global education challenges

The alliances have been created to find real and actionable pathways to solving public education's longest standing problems, said Vikas Pota, CEO of UK-based Varkey Foundation.

Dubai: Three new international alliances were launched on Sunday to draw up recommendations on how to address the education sector's most-pressing issues around the world, including in India, and find actionable pathways to solve them.

The three Varkey Foundation Alliances - the Alliance on Girls' Education, the Alliance on Teachers and the Alliance on Innovation - will comprise of experts from leading private businesses, academia, and government.

"The alliances have been created to find real and actionable pathways to solving public education's longest standing problems," Vikas Pota, CEO of UK-based Varkey Foundation, said at the Global Education and Skills Forum 2016 (GESF) in Dubai.

"Issues like ensuring girls worldwide have equal access to education, raising the quality of teaching and respect for the teaching profession, and how to best use innovation in education represent three of the biggest educational challenges facing the world today."

"I am delighted that the Varkey Foundation will sponsor these groups that include some of the most distinguished individuals and thought leaders in their fields, whose expertise and blue-sky thinking will, I am sure, lead to a raft of innovative recommendations on how to address these crucial issues," he said.

Each group will comprise of 10-15 experts with an interest in their respective issue, and after their first meetings at the GESF 2016 here each alliance will hold a further series of meetings over the next year to produce actionable recommendations related to their focus area.

The recommendations will be contained in a white paper to be published at GESF 2017 next March.

Each alliance will be funded by the Varkey Foundation, founded by Kerala-born entrepreneur Sunny Varkey.

"On girls' education for example, Unicef estimates that 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013.

"This needs to change because educated girls who have been to school have much more power to break the cycle of poverty. Gender equality in education generates a virtuous cycle that benefits future generations," Varkey Foundation said in a statement.

The alliances include prominent individuals from organisations such as UNESCO, Harvard University, Amazon, LEGO Education as well as various government ministers and their representatives.

They include David Edwards, Deputy General-Secretary, Education International; Brett Wigdortz, Chief Executive Officer, Teach First, UK; Esteban Bullrich, Minister of Education, Argentina; and Christina Lowery, Managing Director, Girls Rising, US.