Middle East Association to shine the spotlight on MENA education
- Saudi Arabia: Wednesday, February 13 - 2013 at 09:24
- PRESS RELEASE
The issues and opportunities relating to education and skills development in the MENA region will be the focus of a series of three seminars to take place at the Middle East Association's premises in London over the next two months.
Keynote addresses will be given by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, Chairman, Arab British Chamber of Commerce, and Salah Khalil, Founder of the Alexandra Trust. Other speakers include Edward Chaplin, CMG, OBE, Trustee of the Mowgli Foundation; Hiwa Jwanroyi, Director of Education and Cultural Affairs at the Kurdistan Regional Government UK Representation; Richard Parry, Head of Education and Skills Sector Team, UK Trade & Investment; Sue Lawton, Global Advisory Board, WEConnect International; Madeleine White, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Whizz Education; Matthew Anderson, Director TVET UK; Philip Andrews, CEO, GetEnergy; Lisette Mermod, Managing Director, Risk Reward; and Marianne Schoenig, Global Gender Supplier Inclusion & Diversity Lead, Accenture.
This event will be followed by seminars on 'Technology, Publishing and Language Learning: Opportunities and Trends in MENA' on 28th March, and 'Building Schools for the Future: Establishing International Partnerships' on 10th April.
The recent turmoil in the MENA region has thrown into sharp focus the pressing need for governments to provide employment and raise living standards for their populations, at least 60% of whom are under 25.
Improving access to good quality, relevant education and training and developing skilled workforces are key to promoting employment and business growth, as well as to attracting the foreign investment that the region so urgently requires.
Addressing capacity shortages, raising standards and bridging the skills gap between education and the workplace are just some of the challenges faced by the governments of the region, which are investing heavily in increasing and reforming their education provision.
According to the World Bank, public expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa on education accounts for 18.6% of government spending, compared with a world average of 14.2%. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has allocated SAR204bn ($54.4bn) to education in its 2013 budget, almost 25% of total expenditure. This in turn presents a huge opportunity for British companies, from the supply of resources and materials to the provision of specialist training and the establishment of partnerships in further and higher education.
"International expertise and investment will be critical to the process of building local capacity, and the UK's reputation for excellence in education places British companies and educational establishments in high demand," said Matthew Smith, Director General at the Middle East Association.
"This series of seminars will explore key trends, highlight the potential for further British involvement and cooperation, and provide a forum for debate and high level networking."
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