Egypt, February 2020, In line with the continuous efforts to promote the Global Knowledge Index (GKI) as an advocacy tool and to widely disseminate and embed it in policy debates, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), under the umbrella of the Knowledge Project, held the Knowledge Week for Sustainable Development in Egypt from 10 to 13 February 2020.
The Knowledge Week, which lasted for four days, was a great success, as it brought together representatives from ministries and government departments, journalists, media professionals, researchers, representatives of the private sector and students, as well as 72 young men and women from different regions of Egypt, who were selected to participate in a competition-like to present alternatives and recommendations concerning their vision for the future of Egypt and how to improve the rank of Egypt in the Global Knowledge Index.
The week kicked off on Monday 10 February for a period of 4 days and concluded on February 13 under the patronage of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Al Alfi Foundation for Human and Social Development.
As many as 72 youth participants selected out of more than 1,000 applicants from different regions of Egypt worked on presenting innovative ideas to solve developmental and knowledge challenges to reach the knowledge society and achieve sustainable development in Egypt, within working groups covering the sectors of the Global Knowledge Index: pre-university education, technical and vocational education and training, higher education, research, development and innovation, information and communications technology, and economy. Egypt's performance on the 2019 Global Knowledge Index was the starting point.
The Global Knowledge Index 2019 ranks Egypt 82 out of 136 countries, advancing 17 positions and achieving notable progress in pre-university education. It also maintained its advanced ranking on the level of enrollment in higher education, ranking 11 out of 136 countries. In this context, the Knowledge Week encouraged Egyptian youth to design a detailed work plan to solve the intractable challenges preventing the Egyptian society from becoming a knowledge-based society.
Up to 72 youth worked on a detailed analysis of their proposed ideas during the first three days of the Knowledge Week and presented their findings and recommendations during the last day to the decision-makers.
Speaking at the workshop, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar highlighted “the continuous collaboration for a year between the Ministry of Higher Education and the Knowledge Project, in which the strengths and weaknesses of Egypt's performance have been studied since the announcement of the results of the Global Knowledge Index 2018. This was followed by exploring solutions to address different challenges. The result was that Egypt advanced 17 ranks in the Global Knowledge Index 2019, achieving a remarkable progress in higher education, ranking 49 globally.
The CEO of MBRF Jamal Bin Huwaireb highlighted the importance of the Knowledge Week initiative, through which “the partners, UNDP and MBRF, seek to involve young people in leading the development process,” adding that the “Global Knowledge Index is a roadmap for the sustainable development of societies.”
“Investing in knowledge positively affects education and skills development, which are key to ensure that youth can drive sustainable change in the years to come. Knowledge Week for Sustainable Development in Egypt came to engage youth, both young men and young women, and tap into their energy, creativity, and enthusiasm.” said the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Richard Dictus
The CEO of Al Alfi Foundation for Human and Social Development Nermin Abu Jazia spoke about the importance of investing in human resources, saying "the investment in the human component in the field of science and technology is the basis for achieving any progress. From this standpoint, the Alfi Foundation's partnered with the UNDP, MBRF and the Ministry of Higher Education in launching the Knowledge Week in Egypt.”
The Chief Technical Advisor of the Knowledge Project at UNDP Dr. Hany Torky emphasized that the Knowledge Week has achieved its goals, "we were able to link the Egyptian youth with the decision-makers,” announcing that “an important decision were taken by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research to activate the recommendations and ideas presented by the youth, which confirms the success of Knowledge week in achieving its goals.”
The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar announced the launching of a ‘Higher Council of Knowledge’ composed of deans of relevant universities, and from which a ‘Knowledge Committee’ will be formed, with the participants of the Knowledge Week forming its first members. The council and the committee will be responsible for developing a proposal for a strategy to build a knowledge society in Egypt.
UNDP and MBRF announced the results of the Knowledge Week for Sustainable Development, in which the three winning teams were offered a full coverage to participate in the upcoming Knowledge Summit taking place in Dubai in 2021.
The Knowledge Week comes as part of a series of workshops and seminars to promote the use of the Global Knowledge Index as an advocacy tool and to disseminate it widely in political debates. The workshops target policymakers, decision-makers, students, youth, professors, and researchers to advance dialogue and raise awareness about the importance of knowledge and knowledge-based policies to achieve sustainable development.
The Global Knowledge Index 2019 covers 136 countries, it helps countries formulate forward-thinking strategies to support knowledge and promote it as a key component in building a stronger knowledge economy while ensuring sustainable development.