264 million children around the world are out of school. That is the entire UAE population, 28 times. The total number includes 61 million children of primary school age, 62 million of lower secondary school age and 141 million of upper secondary age according to UNESCO data. These children are not getting educated because of the poverty-stricken nature of their environment, simultaneously; they are not escaping out of poverty because they lack proper education. It is a vicious circle.
The eradication of poverty and the establishment of inclusive and quality education for all are two complexly linked aspects of life. If all adults around the world completed secondary school, the global poverty rate would be more than halved.
Experts from around the world have gathered for the start of the second Jameel-World Education Lab (J-WEL) Week, which begins on Monday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.
As countries strive to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030, the second J-WEL Week, “Learning Communities of the Future”, will see experts from a range of fields come together to discuss ways of pushing forward learning and education to reach the children and youth who remain excluded and the barriers they face.
The four-day, semi-annual event features more than 100 participants from 23 countries, including Saudi Arabia, and seeks to foster partnerships and knowledge exchange between academia, NGOs, regional and multilateral organisations, the private sector and other actors in the space. The participants include university senior leadership, industry leaders, educators, government officials, and heads of leading foundations. Those attending include representatives of King Saud University, and from Jordan Hello World Kids and Save the Children.
Fady Mohammed Jameel, President of Community Jameel International, said: “Education and learning are the bedrock of development, building strong and diversified economies, and creating opportunity and prosperity – central objectives of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, and the ambitions of governments around the world. Through J-WEL we are bringing together a wealth of perspectives, knowledge and experience to address the challenges facing learning at all levels, and to develop real, workable solutions that can promote employment and create increased opportunity for all.”
Sanjay Sarma, MIT vice president for open learning, describes the J-WEL approach: “Through J-WEL, we will forge new and long-lasting collaborations as we learn, share, and train together, using the assets developed at MIT as well as by leveraging the community convened by J-WEL.”
The J-WEL Week program is taking place from March 19 to the 22.