As well as sparking a wave of change across the Arab world, the Tunisian revolution exactly a year ago turned the spotlight on the widespread youth joblessness in the region. One key ingredient of the frustration and disappointment that helped drive the popular revolt was the failure of education systems to give young people the skills they need to get good jobs. Former GMR director Kevin Watkins argued in a post on this blog in February 2011 that those failures include:
• chronic misalignment between the education system and employment markets;
• underperformance of education systems in the Middle East and North Africa;
• the crisis facing low-income households who can’t afford primary education.
The 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, to be released in September, will focus on youth, skills and work, examining ways of helping young people across the world – especially those facing disadvantage – realize their ambitions for better livelihoods and better lives. Along with economic reforms that boost growth and jobs, overhauling education is one of the greatest challenges facing the new governments in the Arab world. In the 2012 GMR, we’ll examine ways of making sure that education reforms help young people obtain the skills that the labour market wants.
These issues are currently being debated on our Youth-Skills-Work blog.
Photo: Demonstrations last month in front of the national constituent assembly in Bardo, Tunisia. (Photo: Amine Ghrabi/Flickr Creative Commons)