The World Economic Forum has announced the extension of its Education Initiative to the Palestinian Authority. The initiative, which was started in Jordan two years ago, will soon include 50,000 pupils in 100 of Jordan’s ‘Discovery Schools’. The pupils will benefit from the provision of computer hardware, software and know-how, and specifically, the development of e-curricula in a number of subjects including Math, English, Sciences, ICT and Arabic.
Based on the extraordinary success of the JEI to date, the go-ahead was given, during the Annual Meeting 2005, to replicate this unique private-public partnership (PPP) model in other countries. As a result, advanced discussions have occurred specifically with the Government of Rajasthan, India, and the Palestinian Authority – culminating in today’s announcement. The “Palestinian Education Initiative”, or PEI, will focus on the deployment of curricula and infrastructure in the school districts, developing lifelong learning in the context of community development, the local ICT industry and effective monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure that changes made are sustainable. Many of the companies involved in the JEI, including global companies such as Cisco Systems, Computer Associates, Intel and Microsoft are exploring their potential involvement. Regional/local private sector companies such as Rubicon (from Jordan) and Palestine Telecommunications have also expressed their strong support for the initiative.
Speaking for the World Economic Forum, Alex Wong said, “This successful project goes to the heart of the World Economic Forum’s mission. Bringing together partners from the public and private sector we have been able, demonstrably, to improve the lives of thousands of young people. To be able to roll out this project now in other regions and countries is a privilege.”
In the Palestinian Authority, a full “due diligence” process has been followed over the past four months to prepare for the launching of the PEI. The project has now received the personal backing and support of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, Minister of Finance Salam Fayyad, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology Sabri Saidam and Minister of Education and Higher Education Naim Abu al Hummus, in addition to several business leaders in the Palestinian Authority.
Speaking for the Palestinian Authority, Dr Sabri Saidam, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, said, "This initiative is in line with the e-transformation currently taking place in the Palestinian Authority through a number of promising projects. The PEI will help us achieve our national ICT strategy and the national vision towards the establishment of a Palestinian state which will be capable, within its limited resources, to positively contribute to the well-being and stability of the region and world at large.”
The Jordan Education Initiative, which has laid the groundwork for the expansion, was launched at the World Economic Forum’s Extraordinary Annual Meeting in Jordan in June 2003. Its mandate, as given by the IT/TC Governors of the World Economic Forum, and renewed in each of the subsequent Governors Meetings in 2004 and 2005, has been to develop a new model for public-private partnership (PPP) where the global private sector can partner with the local private sector, government, civil society and international organizations to develop win-win scenarios for all stakeholders and catalyse education reform in the developing world.
“The Jordan Education Initiative has been instrumental in bringing added value to the Education Reform programme in Jordan. We also welcome the launch of the PEI and look forward to assisting our colleagues in the Palestinian Authority based on our experience with the JEI,” said Dr Khaled Toukan, Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Jordan.