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Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; November 23, 2022: In an effort to overcome data limitations in the region on education and employment, the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, and the Regional Center for Educational Planning (RCEP) under the auspices of UNESCO, announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost research that will help advance the development of educational programs and policies.

H.E. Mahra Hilal Al Mutaiwei, Director of the Regional Center for Educational Planning, and Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, signed the MoU in an official ceremony at the RCEP in Sharjah yesterday. The MoU paves the way for greater data collaboration and knowledge products to help develop evidence-based solutions for equitable education and a smoother transition to employment.

The agreement took place on the sidelines of the second edition of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation’s Thought Leadership Series, which aims to encourage greater collaboration between multi-sector stakeholders, committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through conversations that support youth in their journey from education to employment.

As part of the second edition of the series, the Foundation partnered with RCEP to discuss how youth can thrive in current and future labor markets. The discussion explored the current skills gaps in the region, and the challenges and opportunities in providing high-quality and relevant educational opportunities to the next generation. They also examined the public and private sector’s role in enhancing youth employability for sustainable growth and progress. The session was moderated by Malakeh El Haj, Director of Knowledge & Innovation at Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation and the panelists included H.E. Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary, Care & Capacity Building Sector, UAE Ministry of Education, and Ms. Safia Tmiri, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company.

Under the MoU, both parties will exchange knowledge and expertise on issues pertaining to educational research, as well as jointly contribute to the development of transformative policies in the sector. The two entities would also explore organizing thought leadership activities such as webinars, lectures, roundtable sessions and panel discussions to boost dialogue and stakeholder participation. The learnings and outcomes of these events will then be documented in co-written white papers and reports aimed towards the education sector in the United Arab Emirates, GCC countries, and the Arab region.

“We are pleased to sign this MoU with RCEP, who share our vision and goals to facilitate education for all. The MoU will strengthen our relationship with RCEP and further the Foundation’s strategic goals by leveraging knowledge partnerships. This will help ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning solutions for all in the Arab region. The MoU also highlights the shift in the Foundation’s strategy to support the education ecosystem through thought leadership,” said Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education.

H.E. Mahra Hilal Al Mutaiwei, Director of the Regional Center for Educational Planning, said: “On behalf of the Regional Center for Educational Planning, we would like to take this opportunity to formally thank Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education for leading a series of pivotal discussions to encourage greater collaboration between stakeholders dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Today’s discussion on bridging the work readiness gap, in particular, is of high relevance to RCEP’s second strategic objective to produce and disseminate knowledge in support of educational policies to enable efficient planning of educational systems. We are thrilled to be co-leading it with our colleagues at the Foundation”.

As part of the MoU, RCEP has prioritized the principles of cooperation and partnership to be among the most critical principles upon which its work is based, and we are certain that strengthening bridges of cooperation at the national, regional and international levels will open new opportunities for optimal investment in the production of knowledge to serve the educational systems in our countries.

About The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education

The Foundation aims to empower Emirati and Arab youth to thrive and contribute to the sustainable development of the region, through innovative education solutions and authentic partnerships. As one of the largest privately funded philanthropic foundations in the Arab region, the Foundation supports the provision of high-quality technology-based education opportunities, as well as the development of relevant skills for a successful transition into higher education and the labor market. Founded in 2015, the Foundation is dedicated to the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 8, calling for inclusive and equitable quality education that leads to improved standards of living for all.

About The Regional Center for Educational Planning

The Regional Center for Educational Planning (RCEP) is one of the centers of the second category that works under the technical supervision of UNESCO in the education sector. It was established in accordance with the agreement signed by the Govern­­ment of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the International Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) in 2003. In the context of this agreement, RCEP is entrusted to build national and regional capacities in the field of educational planning, policies, leadership, and dissemination of related knowledge. RCEP also provides consultation services and technical assistance to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, relevance, and quality of education systems in Arab and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

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