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This Episode will air at 11 am EDT on Saturday October 7th

Transformations Shaping Education in the MENA Region (Middle East & North Africa) with Shireen Yacoub (Istidama Consulting),  Elyas Felfoul (Qatar Foundation/ WISE), and Rami Qubain (PWC)

In this episode, we navigate the intricate dynamics of the youth bulge in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where approximately 60% of the population is under the age of 30. We will delve into the opportunities and challenges this demographic trend presents for both higher education and employment. One pressing challenge we tackle is the persistent issue of skills mismatch and high youth unemployment rates in MENA. Despite the increasing number of graduates, there exists a significant disconnect between the skills acquired through higher education and the demands of the job market. We will engage in a thoughtful discussion on strategies aimed at bridging this gap, aligning education with the evolving needs of the job market, and highlight success stories and promising programs that are already making a difference in addressing this crucial issue.

Our guests will provide insights into key topics such as the role of public-private partnerships (PPPs), the localization and contextualization of reform efforts, curriculum modernization, and teacher development. We’ll also explore the integration of technology to enable digitization and strategies for addressing the complex issue of the skills gap. Join us for a grounded, informative conversation that conversation that not only explores the challenges but also offers practical strategies and solutions that are actively shaping higher education in the MENA region.

More about our guests below the video

Episode Guests

Shireen Yacoub

An EdTech pioneer in MENA and Managing Partner at Istidama Consulting, working at the intersection of research and education with a primary focus on upskilling vulnerable communities, including refugees, and harnessing educational technology for enhanced economic mobility. Prior to joining Istidama, Shireen was the the CEO of Edraak, the leading open online learning platform reaching 7 million learners across the MENA region. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education, specializing in Education, Innovation, and Technology.

ELYAS FELFOUL, Director – WISE, Qatar Foundation

Elyas joined WISE in 2013, he has been in charge of managing and establishing the summit’s platform as well as overseeing the EdTech Accelerator Program. With his extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, Elyas brings vast and rich knowledge and expertise to WISE. Before joining WISE, he worked as a political advisor to the Quebec Vice-Prime Minister, and later held a position at a Toronto-based firm specializing in M&A. Elyas studied International Relations at University of Sherbrooke in Canada and obtained a Masters in Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore.

About WISE: WISE is an international, multi-sectoral platform for creative thinking, debate and purposeful action. WISE has established itself as a global reference in new approaches to education. Through both the biennial Summit and a range of ongoing programs WISE is promoting innovation and building the future of education through collaboration.

Rami Qubain

Rami is a Director at PwC Middle East Education and Skills Advisory services, He has more than 20 years of experience in North America and MENA regions developing a track record managing transformation projects in different sectors including education, non-profit, community development, and public sector. He gained a solid skill-set working and managing projects to enhance operational efficiency, regulatory and academic governance frameworks, and stakeholder management. Prior to joining PwC in 2014, Rami worked across multiple higher education institutions including the American University in Cairo, Manhattanville College, and other start-up educational institutions and regional governmental entities