The Outcomes of Sixth AGFUND’s Development Forum Take Actions to implement SDGs, 2030 Agenda.
Introduction Education as a main driver of development, and a key element in achieving the other Sustainable Development Goals. SDG #4 is a unique goal which also contributes to achieving other SDGs such as decent work and poverty eradication, equity and inclusion, gender equality, peace and justice, tolerance, human fulfillment, fundamental human right and other rights for people.
SDG #4 envisaged that by 2030, all girls and boys complete free, equitable pre-school education, substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship, equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, substantial global expansion of the number of scholarships available to developing countries, for enrolment in higher education.
AGFUND & Education The Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) has set education on the top of its development agenda. Realizing the significance of Higher Education in minimizing the gap between demand and supply by accommodating a wider base of education seekers with fewer conditions of acceptance and affordable costs of education, AGFUND has established the Arab Open University (AOU) in 9 Arab Countries with strategic partnership with the UK Open University. Moreover, AGFUND has been encouraging and supporting the provision of quality pre-primary education for all children through the collaboration with the ministries of education in the Arab Countries and developing curricula as well as training courses for pre-primary education. In addition and since 2016, AGFUND established nurseries and kindergartens through its Microfinance Banks, created with development partners and social business investors in 9 countries to meet the needs of active poor via SDGs-fulfilling projects & services.
The Sixth Development Forum On the first of March, 2018, AGFUND organized its sixth development forum entitled “ The Role of Education in Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, Arab Open University Premises, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz President of AGFUND. The rationale of this forum was that this year’s AGFUND prize subject targets SDG#4 “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning for all.” The Forum was attended by participants representing development influencers, donors, private sectors, academic leaders, and media. The forum drew attention to the 4th goal of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (quality education, SDG # 4), and highlighted the efforts mobilized so far to integrate youth, women and children into the education system and ensuring that no one is left behind. SDG 4 is aiming to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
The Forum was honored by a special address by Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank and Chairman Yunus Centre, Noble Peace Prize Laureate, and member of AGFUND’s Prize Committee and AGFUND’s Consultative Council of microfinance banks, who called for changing education goals from preparing students to seek jobs to creating jobs for themselves and others. Moreover, he also called for education to enhance innovative thoughts and noble values. The Speech of HRH Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, President of AGFUND emphasized the importance of education as an engine for development, and highlighted that AGFUND is working in accordance with ‘Unity of Humanity’ principle. Moreover, the Forum was also addressed by H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Issa, Saudi Minister of Education who pointed out that the Saudi Arabian 2030 Vision goes along with the UN 2030 Agenda. In addition, Mr. Nasser Al Kahtani, AGFUND Executive Director, stressed that the Forum is one of AGFUND’s world-wide development event series previously held in Philippines, Uruguay, Morocco and UAE. Moreover, he stressed that this Forum was chosen in accordance with AGFUND’s International Prize of 2018, and the UN’s SDGs. Finally, students from MLS International School presented “to the World” a pioneering Operetta through which they expressed awareness of the SDGs. The show represented a message from those students to the whole world to be more SDG-oriented.
How Education Contribute in Achieving the 2030Agenda.
Inclusive Education to Achieve the 2030 Agenda
Empowering women and developing Early Childhood to achieve the 2030 Agenda
Achieving SDG# 4 from Financial Inclusion Perspective.
Panel: How education contribute in achieving the 2030 Agenda Education contributes to achieve five Sustainable Development Goals:
Leader of the Session: Professor Mohammed Hamdan, Senator and Chairman of Education Committee, Jordan Senate.
Dr. Ashock Nigam, UN Resident Coordinator.
Mr. Amr Abdullah, Director of Gulf Program EFE, Washington DC.
Prof. Mohammad Alzekry, Rector, Arab Open University, Kuwait
Panel: Inclusive Education to Achieve the 2030 Agenda Inclusive
Leader of the session:
Professor Humberto Rodríguez, Professor in Higher Education Speakers:
Ms. Fryal Khan, Program Specialist for Education, UNESCO
Prof. Badr El Din Ibrahim, Senior Microfinance Consultant
Prof. Fairouz Sarkis, Rector, Arab Open University, Lebanon
Panel: Empowering women and developing Early Childhood to achieve the 2030 Agenda Leader of the Session:
Dr. Bah Diallo Aïcha, former Educational Minster in Guinea, and retired from UNESCO
Dr. Soukeina Bouraoui, Executive Director, Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research, Tunisia
Mr. Gopalan Balagopal, UNICEF, Gulf Area Office Representative
Panel: Achieving SDG#4 from Financial Inclusion Perspective Financial inclusion,
Leader of the Session:
Nasser Al- Kahtani, Executive Director of AGFUND
Dr. Niklaus Eggenberger, Regional Advisor for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Switzerland.
Dr. Khaled Algazawi, CEO, Ebdaa Microfinance Bank, Bahrain
Mr. Adel Mohammed Ali, CEO, Ebdaa Microfinance Bank, Sudan
After many deliberations and discussions from the audience, the forum approved the following major recommendations:
The Forum visualizes Quality Education as a backbone of development and part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabian 2030 Vision in compliance with SDGs, and calls for other states, investors and stakeholders to take steps in the same direction.
The Forum recommends that educational strategies, polices and curricula ought to change from preparing students to be job-creators not job-seekers, and prepare them to create job opportunities for themselves and others through innovative private enterprises.
SDGs are long–term goals relevant to the young and future generations; the Forum recommends the introduction of SDG-oriented culture at all educational levels from pre-school up to university with special emphasis on training, teachers who deal with students at all educational levels.
The Forum realizes the importance of early childhood development and empowering women to achieve the 2030 Agenda, and calls for all stakeholders to secure means of investment for early childhood development and women empowerment.
The Forum recommends widening accessibility to inclusive education in general, and higher education in particular, for all people irrespective of their gender, social and economic status, and time and geographical locations.
The Forum admits that financial inclusion (credit, saving, insurance products, and money transfer services) is a strong tool to contribute to achieving the SDGs in general and SDG # 4 in specific.