This is the first in the series of blogs about Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship, featured by Business Fights Poverty and produced by Pearson and the Global Business School Network (GBSN).
In preparation for the recent 2013 Annual Conference and 10th Anniversary celebration, the Global Business School Network produced a research paper, putting the global employment crisis into context, titled "Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship: A Snapshot of the Global Jobs Challenge.”
Employment has always been a central issue in development. In recent years we saw a global financial crisis that affected many countries, causing a massive economic recession and a major loss of jobs. Despite some initial employment gains in the post-crisis years, we have seen a rise in unemployment over the past year. The obstacles that developing countries face in creating employment opportunities is conveyed in part to large population growth, lack of capital accumulation and poor educational services. Population growth rates in developing countries continue to increase, which has led to a swell in the proportion of youth within the population. Many developing countries have a large population of youth unable to find jobs after earning a degree.
The poor quality of educational services is creating a workforce that lacks the basic knowledge and skills needed for today’s job. Education systems in the developing world are burdened with collapsing infrastructure, outdated content and poorly trained teachers. Students continue to face lecture-based, memorization learning approaches, and rarely are exposed to interactive classrooms or experiential learning methods that would allow them to develop their critical thinking, decision-making and teamwork capacities.
To change this situation and maximize the benefits of education, while increasing the employability of graduates, collaboration is needed between governments, the private sector and educational institutions. Such collaboration could support the readiness of workers by associating the supply and demand of skilled graduates, while ensuring the system functions in a favorable policy environment. Despite all this, the affordability of education is still a major problem.
Technology provides innovative ways to encourage employment, improve educational systems and develop entrepreneurship. Two ways that technology can increase access to and the affordability of relevant education is through the use of mobile phones and online education technology. GBSN recently completed a research project on mobile education opportunities globally and found that mobile education ventures offer a wide variety of solutions - adult literacy and numeracy classes via cell phones, create mentorship networks, and provide platforms for learners to access general business education material at any time.
This paper was produced to spur discussion about how the global community can address the challenges of increasing employment and entrepreneurship around the world. We welcome your thoughts and feedback, and look forward to a lively discussion!
Nicole Zefran is the Network Assistant at the Global Business School Network.