Private sector needed because tackling education in emergencies is everyone’s business – global issues

Director-General of Swiss Development Cooperation Patricia Danzi said the protracted education crisis also needs to be addressed, and private sector participation would help address the mismatch between business needs and skills.

  • by Joyce Chimbi (davos
  • Inter Press Service

Despite data showing that the number of children in the deadliest war zones has risen by nearly 20 percent, education in emergencies is a chronically underfunded aspect of humanitarian aid, according to the Stop the War on Children: A Crisis of Recruitment 2021 report.

Speaking today in the background of a high-level panel titled Education in Times of Crisis: How to Ensure All Children Learn. Why cross-sector engagement is needed at the World Economic Forum, Education Can’t Wait (ECW) Director Yasmine Sherif emphasizes the urgent need to better engage the private sector.

“The private sector has an enormously important and instrumental role to play in the education of an estimated 222 million children and adolescents in countries affected by climate-related disasters and conflicts,” said Sherif.

“We live in a world of huge socio-economic inequalities, and those who have them have to share with those who don’t. It starts with financial resources. This is why ECW is part of the ongoing World Economic Forum, because there is a huge private sector audience, and we are working with them to get them to unite (behind education).”

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid hosted the panel.

Panel discussions were opened by President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis and included Sherif, Jacobs Foundation co-CEO Fabio Segura, Ramin Shahzamani, CEO War Child Holland, and the Director General of Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC), Patricia Danzi.

Danzi tells IPS that governments cannot support education alone, especially education in emergency situations where millions of children are out of school.

“We need other actors to take responsibility, to mobilize, and we need this scaling up from other actors as soon as possible.”

“There are two scenarios where private sector involvement is needed, in emergencies such as war, a pandemic or disaster where you need money quickly, and this is philanthropy. We also have protracted education crises. This includes a mismatch of jobs and skills. Here, the private sector requires certain skills that the education system cannot provide – and this goes beyond a crisis.

Danzi said the mismatch was due to several reasons, including inadequate education, access to (quality) education that is not guaranteed, or not enough girls attend school.

Sherif agrees, stressing that the focus is on quality education in countries in conflict with large numbers of refugee and internally displaced children.

“Financing and financing are a very big problem here. The private sector is very important because they have the necessary financial resources and we need to get them on board.”

“Education cannot wait,” she says. There is an urgent need for more financial support from the business community as it makes a difference and puts SDG 4 and other related SDGs firmly within reach.

Segura says private sector participation and contribution has other benefits.

“One of the things we’ve learned is that it’s not just funding the education gap, but the logic and thinking that the private sector can bring or contribute to managing education and scaling education solutions. That logic, mindset and intellectual capital are critical, even though we don’t often discuss education issues in the private sector.”

In emergencies and conflicts, the private sector can play a role in scaling up what works.

“Also (it can) maintain a mindset that will prevail beyond the conflict or emergency. We have also learned that the private sector has a way of maintaining consistency beyond emergencies and conflicts. We need to leverage that logic and their array of resources and infrastructure to fund the education divide in conflict and emergency education.”

Segura emphasizes the need to look at the contribution of education to business and at the same time look at the contribution of business to education. This, he says, argues for engagement beyond just capital and financing in emergencies, as it means broadening the horizon for investment and the horizon for educational returns.

As recently as 2019, and before the complexities introduced to global education by COVID-19, more than 130 million children in school were not learning basic skills such as reading, writing and math, according to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

“Access to education is critical and we owe it to the next generation to be well educated. The longer a child attends school, the greater the chance of prosperity for individuals, households and society,” Danzi emphasizes.

Cross-sectoral engagement is needed to shape the future of learning and development by accelerating the speed of response to crises and connecting immediate aid and long-term interventions to provide a safe, quality and inclusive learning environment for affected children.

“We are at a time when all the funding gaps to achieve the SDGs are becoming very apparent, especially after COVID-19, and so we need to redefine the roles of philanthropists, government, business and the private sector to take advantage of achieving of those objectives. targets that also enable us to work better together across sectors to achieve better goals,” he notes.

Sherif says the private sector has resources. They need to join forces with public donors, especially against the background of significant socio-economic inequalities in the world and countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso and Cameroon which, due to a history of conflict, lack the means to finance education.

Sherif will also speak at another high-level panel discussion entitled Neutral Ground: Education in Emergencies-Building Blocks for a Safer Future on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, highlighting the central role of education in facilitating success for children and young people in their diversity. . † This is a joint event of The LEGO Foundation, Street Child International and ECW. The panel reads Sherif; Learning through Play Chair, The LEGO Foundation, Bo Stjerne Thomsen; CEO & Founder-Street Child International Tom Dannatt; Deloitte Representative/Moderator Melissa Raczak.

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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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