Collaborating for change - The New Indian Express

Collaborating for change

Published: 26th November 2012 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 24th November 2012 02:27 PM

Access, quality of education and finance are the barriers to universal education. According to a UNESCO study, more than 700 million people are illiterate globally. These barriers were discussed under the theme, ‘Collaborating for Change’ at the fourth World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), which was held from November 13-15 in Doha, Qatar. The brain child of Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson, Qatar Foundation, WISE was attended by over 1,000 delegates from around the world. “Too many people still do not have access even to the basic education that will enable them to build a secure life. Standing still is not an option when we know progress is possible,” said Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, chairman, WISE, at the inauguration.

More than 50 sessions were held at Qatar National Convention Centre. A host of issues, ranging from skill mismatch, the shrinking space for liberal arts education in a globalised world and educating the girl child to ways of financing education were discussed. “Education is not just a human right. It is part of the answer to globalisation and financial inequalities. It empowers people. It is about sustainability, human dignity and peace,” said Irina Bokova, director-general, UNESCO.

The summit also saw the launch of a new initiative by Qatar Foundation — Educate a Child, which aims to reduce the number of children who don’t have access to education. At the moment, the number stands at 61 million. WISE has already partnered with 25 NGOs under this project.

At the summit, Madhav Chavan, CEO and president, Pratham Foundation, India, was awarded the second WISE Prize, for educating underprivileged kids. He received $500,000 and a gold medal. Six projects received the WISE Award and $20,000. They are Cristo Rey Network Corporate Work Study Program, USA, PSU Educarchile, Chile, RoboBraille, Denmark, Satya Bharti School Program, India, Solar-Powered Floating Schools, Bangladesh, Cambodian Children’s Fund — Generational Change Through, Cambodia.

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