According to the EVERFI Middle East study, that was conducted with almost 50 teachers in the UAE at the end of 2020, 95 percent of teachers feel that businesses have a responsibility to support education and fill this gap in learning. The goal of the study was to identify how business education partnerships could help tackle societal issues that continue to alienate many young people from educational and economic engagement.
“Business has an important, strong and significant role in distance learning as it makes the student more realistic and facilitates the learning process and makes it easier and less expensive. Businesses can support education by supporting educators with more resources, linked to their respective curriculum to enrich teaching and learning in the classroom,” noted the teachers.
“This is not just about corporate social responsibility (CSR), it’s about having that shared value and being part of something bigger. There is a missing layer of education that exists at all levels and we want to challenge the status quo and work with the private sector to close this gap, initiate change and give students the skills and opportunities they need in life to succeed,” noted Jon Chapman, President and Co-Founder of EVERFI.
To facilitate this business-education partnership, EVERFI Middle East, in association with the British Business Group (BBG) Dubai, hosted a private event where it invited heads of organizations from the financial, health, insurance, energy, communications and aviation sectors, to participate in a discussion on social purpose, community engagement and youth empowerment. The discussion revolved around topics such as social and economic disparities in education and lack of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, enlightens the agency.
“At Lloyd’s, we are committed to creating an inclusive culture that attracts the most talented people in the world. EVERFI understands that there is a missing layer in the education system today and that students, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, are not getting access to critical 21st century life skills and this really resonated with me. I believe there is an opportunity for us to do more as an industry to build long term action plans and invest in programs that really impact young people in a positive way,” stated Andrew Woodward, Regional Head for Lloyds Insurance in the Middle East and Turkey.
The Covid pandemic has underscored the inequities that exist in society, which make quality education inaccessible for many young people.
Sheherzad Kaleem, General Manager for EVERFI Middle East, talked about the courses the company is launching in the market. These include both online and offline resources on financial literacy, mental well-being, and STEM career readiness. “Research shows us that there is still a lack of knowledge in the UAE when it comes to basic financial products and future financial planning. We also know that there is a recruitment crisis in the STEM sector. Our courses are designed to offer a new dimension to young people’s learning and give students the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to tackle these problems and move ahead in life,” he added.
“I will never forget my own lack of understanding of financial matters when I first started work,” said Vince Cook, CEO, National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) adding, “It was only after taking my professional exams that I realized quite how much was not being taught in schools. Many years on, I can see the tremendous harm that poor financial choices can make to a person, their families and their work prospects and overall wellbeing and am very happy to see how we can work with EVERFI to start to improve on the current situation and the focus it gets as part of general education.”