Education key to economic development- Chief Executive Varkey foundation

Sekinat Salam-Opebiyi

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Policy makers, especially heads of government all over the world have been urged to focus more on issues that will develop qualitative education to improve the lives of their citizens.

These were some of the issues raised at the Global Education and Skills Forum, GESF, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate. The Forum organised by the Varkey Foundation, a non-profit Organisation based in the UK hosted over 2,500 delegates, comprising politicians, policy makers and entertainers.

Established to improve the standard of Education of underprivileged Children throughout the world, Varkey foundation also hosted over 250 journalists from the world in Dubai for the two days conference.

The Chief Executive of the foundation, Vikas Pota while commenting on the 2018 Global Education and Skills Summit says education is key to solving global issues.

Pota said:“In several global economic summits, while there are ministers of Finance, Energy, Power and Technology, you hardly find ministers for Education. Even though when we talk about issue of economic and skill education, which education is very crucial about.

“In some of our interaction with education ministers, we discovered that it is those who do not want the job that actually have it. and often time, professionals are not selected to handle issues relating to education. In fact, some of them said they will perform better in their respective positions if they have the cover of their leaders. And so we believe that when leaders like Tony Blair talk about education, other leaders in the world will listen.”

Posta said the summit focussed on how to prepare young people for the world of 2030 and beyond.

“I am also pleased that the Global Education & Skills Forum is being used as a convening platform by others on substantive issues.

It would be wrong to speak about the future without the involvement of youth. We have some great youth advocates that are going to be participating as speakers during the event, and we will also be hosting a Model UN event at GESF, where young people are invited, over the two days, to deliberate on the key issues they believe are important for the rest of us to prioritise.

“Whilst the young constitute only 27 per cent of human population, let’s not forget they are 100 per cent of our futures and that is why we want to provide them with opportunities to raise the issues that they’re most passionate about at GESF.

“As we grow, as a Foundation, we continuously ask ourselves as to how we effect change and what the role of philanthropy is in strengthening public education. That is why we are convening for the first time approximate 50 other foundations and funders to meet in a learning session during the summit.” 

Speakers at the event were former US Vice President and global climate change leader, Al Gore; award-winning author and Contributing Editor of the Financial Times, Simon Schama; former cricketer Brian Lara and peace activist Mohamed Sidibay.

The speakers had a debate on new ways for education to transform the world and also delved into various issues affecting the future of young people in 2030.

Lateefah Ibrahim