Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, announced today a 2-year program in sub-Saharan Africa to support the rapid growth of tertiary education and address the challenges of the tertiary and skills sector in Africa. This program marks Dubai Cares' first investment in tertiary education, thus reinforcing the organization's position as a key proponent of universal quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. The AED 5,510,250 (USD 1.5 million) program, implemented in partnership with Education Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA), is set to benefit students, graduates and education institutions within the tertiary sector in a number of countries across the region. Preparatory work is underway in the first two target countries, Ghana and Uganda.
Titled "Improving the Systemic Effectiveness of the Tertiary Education Sector in sub-Saharan Africa", the program is set to enable ESSA to more broadly expand its reach to tertiary education. It focuses on four major areas including building the human capacity and capability in tertiary education; the employability of graduates from the tertiary education sector; leadership and managerial skills of tertiary education leaders; as well as knowledge transfer and practical adoption of best practice within the tertiary education sector. Building upon the swift progress ESSA has made since start up in 2016, this program marks the next phase of an ambitious growth strategy.
Speaking about this strategic debut into tertiary education, Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares said: "We are excited to announce our expansion into tertiary education, as we believe it is essential for growth, breaking the cycle of poverty and enabling individuals and communities to prosper. We believe this first ever intervention in tertiary education by Dubai Cares will help connect students and graduates to employment opportunities and will be central to developing successful and sustainable economies and societies. It also represents a logical extension of our programming, which has been targeting young people, to now cover the third stage of education. This program, which is in partnership with ESSA, presents an exciting opportunity for Dubai Cares to play a leading international role in contributing to the academic success of millions of students, boost employment in the long-term and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa."
Commenting on the announcement, ESSA's Director Dr. Olaf Hahn said: "The opportunity to make the nexus between education and work far more effective for Africa's youth and its employers is considerable. Yet, there are huge challenges to be overcome. Having made swift progress since our establishment in 2016 and with the people of Africa at the heart of all we do, we are delighted to be working with Dubai Cares to make a further significant contribution. We are also very pleased to welcome His Excellency Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Dubai Cares CEO, as a Patron of ESSA. His inspiring leadership, deep knowledge and relationships in the sector will be of tremendous help."
With a population expected to grow by a further 1.3 billion by 2050 thereby requiring the creation of 800 million new jobs, it is estimated that 100 million additional students will join tertiary education in sub-Saharan Africa. This will place huge pressure on the tertiary education sector and calls for broad systemic changes to improve access to education, the efficiency in the delivery of knowledge, qualifications and skills, and to better align educational development with changing economies.