By: Estelle Langlais-Al Mahdawi, UNICEF
On 20 September 2013, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a framework for business to engage in education at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York. Developed by UNESCO, UNICEF, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, and the UN Global Compact, “The Smartest Investment: A Framework for Business Engagement in Education” makes the case that education is not only good for society, but also good for business.
The Framework charts the means to realize business benefits while advancing education goals. The report draws on the experience that business has the potential for transformational impact in education and can be an effective partner in improving education systems and learning worldwide.
The Framework sets out a three-part process for engagement: helping businesses to make the case internally about why they should engage in education; selecting appropriate activities; and acting in a responsible manner. It identifies five drivers that support education while benefitting business:
- Fostering innovation in education
- Addressing operational risks
- Improving brand leadership and enhancing corporate reputation
- Boosting employee morale and retention
- Developing capacity of future employees
This year’s Global Compact Annual Implementation Survey of its 8,000 participating companies worldwide shows that corporate leaders see education as the most urgent global development challenge, and also one in which they have a great ability to contribute.
“Innovations are needed to help children learn and access the skills they need to succeed and to be tomorrow’s leaders,” said Jo Bourne, UNICEF’s Associate Director and Global Chief of Education. “UNICEF recognizes that innovative partnerships with the private sector are among the key forces to ensure a better and brighter future for education. Business has a critical stake in ensuring all individuals – young people and adults alike – have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
The Framework supports the Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, which aims to put every child in school, improve the quality of learning, and foster global citizenship.
To read the press release, please click here.
To read the Framework for Business Engagement in Education, please click here.
For further information, please contact: Hiba Frankoul, Partnerships Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Private Fundraising and Partnerships, UNICEF.