One of the key learning outcomes of quality education is the achievement of critical, time-based socio-emotional abilities. An important ability is to be empathetic. While nature plays a strong role in developing this ability, nurture's role in the education system is often missing right from the early years. Most emerging markets education systems are designed for efficiency and end up including or excluding students knowingly (due to biases) and unknowingly (due to pre-set policies or habits) to achieve efficiency as the main outcome. Students observe this process of exclusion and this is often the start of their journey ridden in prejudices and lacking empathy. The consequences of biases based on any grounds know no boundaries. They are enduring and staggering not only for individuals but also for communities and countries at large, alarming the necessity to educate children's hearts and not just their heads. With students entering the classrooms with diverse backgrounds and learning profiles the work of building inclusive learning spaces becomes paramont. Teachers at all education levels should be compelled to grow and diversify their toolbox of instructional practices and strategies for accommodating certain students, particularly those with learning differences.
The earliest years of human life are recognised as a "critical period" at which education is most formative and beneficial for the holistic development of the child's cognitive skills, emotional well-being, and social competence. But in many emerging countries, ECE falls outside the mandatory education framework.
Education must do more than teaching literacy. Teaching children to love, value and celebrate one other, on the basis of absolute equality and inclusion, should be the core purpose of education in the early years, in light of that SEAMEO (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation) have identified the universalisation of pre-primary education as one of their seven priority areas for implementation for the period 2015-2035. This vociferates the need to focus on technology advancement and a structural framework that can ensure inclusive education and enables social-emotional Learning. This refers to facilitating access for all children in the community and need for a holistic child-centred approach.
In this session, we will discuss:
- How do we train a system driven towards achieving economic goals to one that targets soft skills related learning outcomes
- Opportunities and challenges of adopting an inclusive teaching model
- How public-private collaborations in the ECE space can create a significant impact in the developing countries
- How to overcome the challenges in developing appropriate leadership and support staff
- What types of inclusion are needed and how do we prioritize them
- How do we remove and reduce teacher bias towards the socio-economically well-off kids
Underemployment reflects the underutilization of the workforce's productive capacity and can be divided into two major categories: time-related underemployment and skill-related underemployment. When a graduate with an engineering degree works as a taxi driver, he/she is skill-related underemployed. When a worker who prefers a full-time job works as a part-timer, he/she is time-related underemployed.
According to The Encyclopedia of World Problems & Human Potential, "In almost all the less developed countries, underemployment and consequent poverty is widespread in both urban and rural areas and is a central employment problem. In rural areas particularly, the majority of small-holders and landless agricultural labourers do not have adequate employment or income for the families dependent on them. India's example is typical and has statistical verification: one-quarter to one-third of the existing labour force in agriculture may be surplus to India's requirements.
Pronounced seasonal underemployment also exists: where there are no irrigation facilities, available work is confined to 3-4 months in the year. In the urban sector, about 21% of those gainfully employed work less than 28 hours per week. Japanese Household Economy Surveys yield estimates that approximately one-third to one-half of the agricultural labour force constituted surplus labour. The FAO has estimated that nearly one-third to two-thirds of agricultural workers in various areas of the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe are surplus. These and other examples show that one-quarter to two-thirds of workers may be affected in less developed countries depending on location and sector."
Among others, a major cause of underemployment is the widening skills gap. With rapid technological advancements, workers' skills are becoming outdated faster than ever before. According to McKinsey, "the global economy could face a potential surplus of 90 million to 95 million low-skill workers and a shortage of about 38 to 40 million high-skill workers by 2020"
In this panel discussion, we will identify:
- How education can help address the existing technical, soft skills and life skills gap
- How better career guidance and advice at the right time can play a role in providing more fulfilling employment opportunities
- How we can overcome PTER (Part-Time for Economic Reasons) problem that is likely to become more severe as the current generation seeks higher ROI education
- How colleges, by focusing on career and vocational training, can prepare the future generation to keep up with the rapid changes in the workforce.
Women in Asia are on average 70% less likely than men to be in the labor force. Although this gap has narrowed over the past three decades, it only takes a glimpse of the data to see that there are still huge differences across societies. For instance, amongst different regions in the world, South Asia has one of the lowest ratios of female to male labor force participation, which currently stands at 34%. South East Asia countries, on the other hand, witness an impressive ratio of 76%.
There are several factors that influence this ratio. Besides significant factors such as economic development, government incentives, social norms and fertility rate, education levels and access to childcare are also critical.
Female labor force participation is a driver of economic growth and a coping mechanism in response to the economic shocks that hit the household. Thus, encouraging and empowering women to enter and stay in the workforce is an important mission. This panel will discuss how education can help increase female labor force participation rate and create sustainable pathways for women to develop and grow.
Some of the problems to address:
- Providing the necessary social and infrastructure support needed to promote female employment
- What examples of support work best
- How can the other gender be trained to support this logical social need
- What pedagogical approaches reduce gender inequality in education institutions
- How do we overcome the perceived preference for one gender over another in some professions
In its whitepaper published in May 2019, Mastercard estimated the global gig economy is capitalizing on a USD 500B opportunity with an expected 17.4% CAGR in gross volume from 2019 to 2023 . In Asia, gig economy which is built around freelancers, temporary workers, independent contractors or free agents has emerged as a prevailing trend. Based on data from the World Bank, 26 percent of Malaysia's workers are currently freelancers, with companies such as Grab, Gojek, and Foodpanda gaining employees at a rapid rate. Similarly, 56.9 percent of Vietnam's working population is self-employed, 50.9% in Indonesia and 78% in India ; providing a steady labour supply to gig economy.
Thanks to new technology advancements, digital platforms and marketplaces now facilitate a great volume of continued and repeated transactions matching gigs and gig workers. Although there are undeniable benefits for employers to obtain flexibility and cost-effectiveness and for workers to earn a living by piecing together gigs, critics of the gig economy increasingly criticize the lack of workers' benefits due to their non-employee status, questioning the long-term impact of gig jobs. While the most prevalent drawback has always been centered around job security, health insurance and labour rights - the basic short-term welfare of the workers, there are deeper issues that we should not ignore pertaining to the macroeconomic health of the national economy.
In an article on The Jakarta Post (Nov 2018), Shah Suraj, an advisor at the School of Social and Political Sciences of Gadjah Mada University, expressed concerns that a gig economy could stagnate career progression and drive up income inequality. While the gig economy currently gives a powerful financial injection into the economy, these jobs do not "shift the economy to a higher stage of production" since workers are put in a skills trap . "A Go-Jek driver, for example, will always be a Go-Jek driver. He or she cannot upskill in their craft or take on a management role." As such, in the long-term, this skills trap contradicts the sustained growth model, bringing in a form of deindustrialization where more and more workers entering low-skilled services.
This panel will share their perspectives on:
- To what extent do you think gig economy is creating a form of de-industrialization where there is an increasing number of people attracted to low-skill jobs?
- Given the growth in automation and technology advancement, do you think that gig jobs, especially those in blue collar lines of work such as manufacturing and warehousing, will be replaced partially or even completely in the near future?
- How do you think about the opinion that workers, especially young people, should find jobs that are more likely to offer opportunities for training and upskilling in order to achieve higher incomes in stead of doing gig jobs?
- How should private companies provide training and upskilling for gig workers and what career development and opportunities they can have if staying in the gig economy?
- What should be the roles to be played by public sector, private sector and gig workers themselves to have a sustainable gig economy landscape?
Improvements in education not only increase individuals' lifetime earnings but also stimulate a nation's economic growth. Although global access to education has improved significantly, education learning outcomes, which are influenced by socio-economic status and location, are still insufficient and unequally distributed. The state policy of many developing nations deems basic education to be both free and compulsory, but even after several years of initiatives, it's unable to fill in the demand-supply gap. Years of efforts by the government to provide enough education institutions for a rapidly expanding population within the emerging economies have been futile. The DEEPEN study from Nigeria highlights that despite being pricier, one of the key reasons for the growth in private schools is that they seem to deliver better quality education when compared to government schools.
Value for money drives the scale of the impact and the economies inherent in facilitating change. Therefore, with an increase in budget stress, technological advancements, and a drive towards asset-light learning, the roles of the government and private sector must evolve to a point where the two collaborate towards common goals. Apparently, the success of the education system will depend on both 'sides' working in partnership. This systemic change, in turn, will stimulate more investment and innovation among schools, to deliver better services.
Considering the growing demand, in addition to financial aids, the private sector can contribute external expertise and capabilities to achieve higher capital efficiency. While governments are often in charge of land authorities, land licenses, education licenses, certification/curriculum; The private sector can bring in innovative solutions that are scalable, effective and affordable.
The budgetary capital constraints that currently exist in many developing nations tangibly hamper educational productivity and performance. This panel aims at understanding how the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) can resolve some of these constraints by incorporating both the private and public sector funds and competencies to a specified education project for social good.
In this panel discussion, we will discuss:
- How the private sector can facilitate affordable access to quality education at the bottom of the pyramid
- Sustainable models of financing education through international and multi-stakeholder partnerships, including philanthropic initiatives
- What metric can be determined to evaluate the success of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP)
- Real-world case studies of successful PPP in the education space
Rising demand for purpose-driven and socially responsible finance has resulted in new ways of putting capital to work. Investors increasingly recognize the need to avoid negative effects and to follow international norms and principles designed to address Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks.
The past decade has challenged the long-held view that impact investments or social returns should be funded by impact investors and the financial returns should be funded by mainstream investors. Impact investors prioritize social or environmental returns on their investments over monetary returns, while still expecting some financial return. Mainstream investors have entered the arena and are bringing scale to what was earlier considered a niche. In today's capital markets, there is a broad universe of investors who seek to achieve a positive impact on targeted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and do good or avoid harm. These investors seek to optimize financial returns, while also aspiring to achieve social or environmental impact. The United Nations estimates that reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries will cost about $3.9 trillion per year-and that private and public sources provide just $1.4 trillion, leaving behind huge scope for new and more prominent investors to enter the space. Hence, the idea of investing for impact is gaining popularity and worldwide acceptance.
The fourth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is allied with education, promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all and aims to develop the nations in various dimensions by integrating cooperation between the public sector, private sector, and society. Quality education leads to an enhanced lifestyle of the individual and the community, which would, in turn, play a vital role in driving the consumption and hence the development of the nation. Education, in the long run, supports the strengthening of the economic resilience of the community.
The panel discussion will be based on the below-mentioned line of thoughts:
- Various dimensions of impact investing in the education segment
- Different SDGs that can be pursued by investing in both - 'delivery' and 'enablers' of learning
- Future of Impact investing in education space
- Debt as a strong impact creating vehicle
AI is altering education tools and changing the future of education. It provides marginalized people and communities, people with disabilities, refugees, those out of schools and those living in isolated communities with access to appropriate learning opportunities. As never before, AI based education applications enable students with varied needs to enjoy personalized content, to focus on the areas where they specially need to improve and to reach their real potential by individualized training and reliable feedback. AI also helps advance collaborative learning where the need for physical classrooms is obviated and students, regardless of their locations, can participate at their convenience. Soon enough, AI will be able to support inclusion and ubiquitous access to education.
In this panel discussion, we will look at the future of AI driven innovation in education and identify the associated challenges and opportunities to ensure the maximum benefits it would deliver to learners, educational institutions, and society.
- Can an AI based system be designed to promote deep emotional engagement with a topic while enhancing the learning experience? Or, is an AI system, by definition not capable of deep engagement?
- Will AI-based systems truly be inexpensive and affordable or will they favour those already with preferred access?
- Are we seeing more accessible pricing/business models with the mainstreaming of AI systems in supplemental learning?
- How do teacher-led systems reinvent themselves to be student-led systems? Is there evidence?
- What are some successful examples of AI in student recruitment and talent acquisition?
Education is at the heart of UNESCO's mission to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development and it is identified as a standalone goal (SDG 4) as it has a well-identified role of enabler for many areas under the SDGs like good health, no poverty, reduce inequality, good jobs and economic growth, responsible consumption and a few others. The recognition of interdependencies on education and the synergies that it creates for facilitating various goals is critical.
It is widely acknowledged that education is salient for the comprehensive development of the nation. Therefore, UN prescribed an annual spend of 6% of GDP on education. However, many emerging nations don't meet these standers as the governments there have multiple priorities including the development of basic infrastructure, healthcare, defence, financial services, amongst others. According to a recent World Bank report, a staggering 53% of all children in low- and middle-income countries still suffer from learning poverty. At the current rate of improvement, even by 2030, about 43% of children would still be learning-poor. In this context, the rapid growth of Affordable Private Education (APE) has been one of the most interesting phenomena in the education sector, particularly in low-income countries where around a fourth of the entire school-going population already attends such a school. Growth of APE could be even faster and qualitatively better if one of the key barriers the APE Providers (APEPs) face - access to suitable financing - is addressed. Studies by DFID in Nigeria, as well as FSG in India, prove that a vast majority of the APEPs are commercially viable and bankable.
Globally speaking, South-South Cooperation (SSC), promoting pragmatic cooperation and partnerships among governments of developing countries, private enterprises, multilateral development institutions, and international development assistance organizations have been providing an avenue for implementing the SDGs in education and skills development. SSC is estimated to be USD 15 billion a year, and 22 percent of it is channelled via multilateral organizations, including the United Nations and World Bank for varied purposes. South-South Cooperation can enable countries to build institutional and systemic capacities and devise solutions for their self-development. It makes knowledge and technology more adaptable to partners' because the level of development and institutional capacities are identical to the size and conditions of local markets, making it affordable to low-income consumers.
Industry reports peg the size of the Edu Finance market at billions of dollars globally. Edu Finance focused commercial financial institutions in India have achieved tremendous business success and created an enormous positive impact. Despite all this, Edu Finance is yet to take off in a significant manner in most countries, even where there is a large APEP population.
The panel discussion will focus on the following questions:
- How can Edu Finance be scaled up in emerging nations with a large number of APEPs? What are the lessons that other countries can learn from India's success in growing the sector?
- What are the key factors that make an Edu Finance entity successful? How does an Edu Finance entity strike the right balance between growth and risk?
- Can Edu Finance be used innovatively as a catalyst for driving quality at APEPs? What will motivate the APEPs to invest in quality given that returns on such investment are not immediate?
- How can Edu Finance entities opportunities beyond APEP financing, e.g. student fee loans and APEP supplier financing?