Education has been top of mind for me lately with my upcoming report scheduled to launch this week (stay tuned). So, as I looked through the notes and quotes from the meeting I was heartened to see that education was top of mind there as well. Education and education reform certainly peppered the program, part of sessions on everything from new realities and inclusive growth, to women and society, national innovation, the net generation, cancer, regional development, cloud economics , entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and the ageing workforce.
Some of the questions addressed – and to which education and investment in education in particular was often a solution – included:
- If structural change is a new reality, then what major adjustments should leaders prepare for, and how?
- How can educating and empowering girls and women impact the acute challenges facing the world?
- How are national innovation systems created and maintained?
- In the digital era, how is the "net generation" workforce reshaping the future of business?
- What innovations, if scaled or replicated, would enable the Middle East to achieve its geopolitical, economic and social aspirations for the future?
- How can entrepreneurship education drive inclusive growth and job creation?
- Nordic economies have consistently ranked among the most competitive globally — how can their policy innovations be applied in other countries?
- How can we uncover the dividends of longevity by extending the role of retirees as producers andcontributors to the social and economic wealth of nations?
Session synopses provide a glimpse into the discussions. In one session, entitled "National Innovation: An Oxymoron?," the discussion highlighted the role of education but noted the complexity of the issue:
In the end, successful initiatives will fit together the pieces of public policy, financing, education and entrepreneurship to complete a jigsaw puzzle that creates a coherent picture within the confines of a particular national culture.
There is much to be done to fit those pieces together. However, a global focus on education, and a regional and country-level acknowledgement of the power of education to drive innovation and competitiveness, will drive education investment – and investment in technology for education.