From education to employment

UNICEF, Accenture, Microsoft & Dubai Cares launch free digital learning platform to combat global education crisis

‘Passport to Earning’ to give 15-24-year-olds certified education & skills training

Centrepiece launch at Day 1 at RewirEd Summit – driving innovative, seismic change in global education

Dubai, Sunday 12th December. To help address the global learning crisis, UNICEF, Accenture, Microsoft and Dubai Cares today came together to launch a new digital global learning platform to give 15-24-year-olds all round the world free, certified education and skills training.

The platform, named Passport to Earning, was unveiled on the opening day of the three-day RewirEd Summit, the ground-breaking event at Expo 2020 Dubai aiming to drive the innovative, radical change needed in education.

This is against a backdrop of COVID-19 threatening to turn a progressively worsening learning crisis into a generational catastrophe. At the height of the pandemic, 1.6 billion students were out of school and tens of millions have yet to go back. Now the Omicron variant threatens to wreak yet more havoc to education in the places that can least afford it.

Passport to Earning, which will operate under UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited partnership, will have content spanning digital, foundational, role-based and technical skills to help young people prepare for the world of work. It will keep them learning both inside and outside of classrooms with content that is not dependent on a consistent web connection. All certifications gained by students will support future employment and entrepreneurship opportunities made available on the platform.

Kevin Frey, CEO of Generation Unlimited said, “Passport to Earning exemplifies what partnerships between the public and private sectors, the UN and young people can achieve. It’s a new, modern, and inclusive global skilling solution that will connect millions of underserved youths worldwide with state-of-the-art curriculum, certifications and, ultimately, jobs.”

On a day of detailed examination of why and how education systems need to change to give young people a better chance in their working lives, the announcement encapsulates the opportunities that public/private/NGO partnerships can offer young people.

Dr Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares who are hosting the RewirEd Summit said: “If education does not deliver on its promise to equip 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 to everything.  We have the means and we must act now.”

The debate at the RewirEd Summit was driven by some of the most important leaders in the field of global education including over 50 Heads of State and government ministers, Gordon Brown, the UN’s Special Envoy for Education; Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF; Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN’s Special Envoy for Youth; Stefania Giannini, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education; Saadia Zahidi, MD at the World Economic Forum; Bob Moritz, Chairman of PwC; and Alan Jope, Unilever’s CEO.

They and many others addressed fundamental issues, including:

  • With young people now three times less likely than adults to find a job, how Technical & Vocational Education & Training (TVET) with its focus on providing work-related skills can be urgently embedded in mainstream education systems and scaled up.
  • To give children more equitable futures, how accessible and relevant tertiary education can be developed. Long proven central to economic, societal and personal development, it now sees its slowest growth in regions with some of the largest growing youth populations, threatening further inequality.
  • The innovative digital training that more education pathways need to provide to cater for the growth of the gig economy and creative industries.
  • The formal and non-formal educational approaches required to give young people the emerging skills vital to work in the fast-growing green economy.
  • The need for radical changes in education as a driver of greater climate resilience and effective adaptation to the climate crisis. Research from Uganda showcased the severe impact of climate disruptions on young people’s livelihoods.
  • With the vital growth in focus on technology and innovation, how a continued prioritisation of soft skills such as creativity, flexibility and problem-solving is hard-wired into education systems.

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