Dr. Amel Karboul, CEO of the Education Outcomes Fund (EOF), spoke with James Bushell at Impakter about the effect of COVID-19 on education around the world, and the urgent need to improve learning outcomes for all children.
Dr. Karboul highlighted that few outside the education sector are aware of the true scale of the global learning crisis. “Before COVID-19 we [the education community] knew that by 2030, 50% of all children globally would be failing to learn,” said Dr. Karboul. Now, up to 90% of children have had their education disrupted as a result of the pandemic, and its effects have been compounded for children in poorer countries, where limited access to the internet and other technologies means that sometimes only 10-30% of students are able to access any form of online learning at all.
Explaining the impetus to improve the way education is financed and delivered, Dr. Karboul explained: “We need more financial resources directed at education because we have more children [than ever before], and also because 21st-Century skills are more complex than anything that has been taught before.”
In light of this critical need for more effective ways to deliver education outcomes, Dr. Karboul explained that EOF aims to “direct the financial resources we put into education into something that is going to actively help the children.” This is why, instead of prescriptive funding and rigid programming, EOF instead focuses on results, tying funding to the achievement of target outcomes set by governments.
Dr. Karboul also discussed EOF’s recent move to UNICEF, describing the mutually beneficial relationship between the two organizations:
“…it is a win-win for both of us. We at EOF bring innovation to UNICEF through our entrepreneurial mindset and we bring a structure that creates results through working with the private sector and private capital.
UNICEF brings to the table great relationships with a wider range of governments...[and] is also a powerhouse of expertise on children and youth, and not just [in terms of] education but how we can give them actionable skills for jobs which is the end goal.”
The backing of a UN organization, added Dr. Karboul, will also help EOF to scale its approach on a global level.
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