RewirEd Summit - Panel Session_Alan Jope-1639326603087
Panelists during the RewirEd Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai on Sunday Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A new global digital learning platform for young people providing free certified education and skills training was launched at Expo 2020 Dubai during the RewirEd Summit on Sunday.

Passport to Earning (P2E) – unveiled by Accenture, Microsoft, UNICEF, and Dubai Cares, operating under the Generation Unlimited partnership – provides 15 to 24-year-olds across the world with free, certified education and skills training. The content spans across digital, foundational, role-based and technical skills. All certifications gained will support future employment and entrepreneurship opportunities made available on the platform.

RewirEd, a global platform led by Dubai Cares in partnership with Expo and in close coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), on Sunday kicked off the RewirEd Summit, which ends on Tuesday, at Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo.

The summit, held as part of Expo 2020 Knowledge and Learning Week, provides a platform for global education stakeholders to tackle the future of education.

The first day of the summit saw the participation of more than 1,500 attendees from 60 countries from around the world, focusing on topics around how and why education systems need to change to provide young people with better opportunities.

‘Education still priority’

At the opening of the summit, Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Despite everything that has overshadowed these last two years, and the hardships that are still endured worldwide as a result of myriad challenges, medical, social and economic… education is still a central priority of every government, every community and every family on Earth.”

She added: “This tells us something. It inspires us to action. It also impels us to deliver concrete outcomes: a legacy manifested in commitments and key findings that will inform the next round of reflection and revision, and the next after that. Use the next three days to build and deliver that legacy. Imagine the possibilities… if we take all that we have learnt, and put it in service of the wonders we have yet to discover.”

Gender gap in education

Jakaya Kikwete, Chair of the Board of Directors of Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and former President of Tanzania, said: “GPE has put gender at the heart of our strategy and we have hard wired this into all our operations. We help governments to identify barriers that affect boys and girls differently, close gender gaps and shut down stereotypes in communities.”

Kikwete added: “We are providing countries with capital to drive change. None of this is possible if we do not have the right data to help governments make decisions. The right solution is impact at scale, one that can reach all children and one that is affordable and has equity at its core.”

Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, said: “Youth must work alongside their governments, communities and private sector as full-fledged partners as well as beneficiaries. Accountability: education is a fundamental human right, a public responsibility. We need to look at youth to ensure that every young person is empowered and that no person is left behind. We must move to concrete commitment and dedicated resources and deliver action.”

‘We’re at a tipping point’

Speaking at the opening plenary of the summit, Dr Tariq Al Gurg, CEO and Vice-Chairman, Dubai Cares, said: “We are at a tipping point of humanity. We may not see it, but we are there. And if education does not deliver on its promise to equip children and young people all over the world with the skills they need to tackle future challenges, then we will be known as the generation who did nothing when we could do everything. We have the means, we are all here, and we must act now.”

Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC, said: “A new combination of bringing people together to drive the agenda is needed. It is the role of the business community in this regard. Business has the responsibility to think about what jobs we have today but also what the future board looks like tomorrow. It is clear that the changes we have seen, that digital skills, digital IQ is paramount to any future world.”

New report

Also announced at the summit was UNESCO’s Annual Global Education Monitoring Report, which called for increased efforts to guarantee free, publicly funded access to a year of pre-primary and 12 years of primary and secondary education for all children. The report also urged all countries to establish quality standards across all state and non-state education institutions to build a coherent education system for all learners.

Continuing the focus on pressing youth topics, refugee students presented on the imperative for higher education for refugees at the Emerging models of Higher Education in Conflict session, with the speakers discussing the urgent action needed to ensure 15 per cent refugee enrolment in higher education by 2030.