Higher Education Leaders Urge Investment in Education Despite Slower Returns
Higher-education leaders recently made repeated calls for governments, businesses and corporate financers to fund education despite the slower returns during a time of global inflation.
Speaking at the Knowledge Hub in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, one of several locations for the hybrid Wharton-QS Reimagine Education Conference, Amr Adly, president of the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST), called on governments to maintain support for education.
Investing in education results in a great return in a country’s gross domestic product by improving individuals’ skills and the development of the economy as a whole, he said.
Adly told Al-Fanar Media that societies in the Middle East are facing a major challenge because of the lack of investment in education. He said governments should invest in innovative educational methods “to improve university rankings, enhance students’ skills and achieve a long-term return from those investments.”
Adly believes that technology courses must be taught in more universities, given the increasing reliance on technology in all sectors. He pointed out that a technologically trained Middle Eastern workforce could be exported to European countries that need human resources in this area.
He also encouraged young people to become entrepreneurs and said that more courses about creating and starting businesses should be taught.
Governments should invest in innovative educational methods “to improve university rankings, enhance students’ skills and achieve a long-term return from those investments.”Amr Adly, president of the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology.
Adly thinks that spending on education should be considered a long-term investment that generates jobs and improves the economy. He added that academic research departments must be linked to industrial companies to improve their business, as is the case in Japan and South Korea.
Hamad Odhabi, vice chancellor for administrative and financial affairs at Abu Dhabi University, spoke about the difficulty of convincing corporate finance companies to invest in education.
He told Al-Fanar Media that today’s world requires the integration of public and private efforts to develop investment plans for education. He noted that many Arab countries have difficulty financing education.
Odhabi stressed the importance of businessmen in supporting education, saying the academic community expects them to take the initiative in participating and investing in human resources as well as business development by helping students find appropriate opportunities. He also highlighted the need for academia to increase its use of technology to create new ways of financing education and opening students up to innovation and creativity.
Sally Jeffery, leader of the global education and skills network of PwC Middle East–Dubai, discussed investors’ reliance on quick profitability. She said that for educational investment , the money would come eventually, but indirectly.
“Some investors decline to fund education due to the lack of a quick return,” but “the bigger new companies can get, the higher will be the returns on the funds invested.”Nada Helmy, incubation and acceleration programme manager, EdVentures.
She added that convincing investors and large private companies of the investment return in technological curricula in universities would encourage young people to learn creative and innovative skills and enhance the labour market by providing needed skills.
She also called for investment to create entrepreneurs who can manage their own businesses, through a scientific and technological approach.
Education Sector Startups
Nada Helmy, incubation and acceleration programme manager at EdVentures, a corporate venture capital subsidiary of the Nahdet Misr publishing group, discussed her organisation’s recent model. She said that EdVentures had tried to finance a number of education startups and accelerate their business.
“Some investors decline to fund education due to the lack of a quick return, especially with the high rate of inflation that may affect the course of education,” she said. But in the current difficult circumstances, she said, “the bigger new companies can get, the higher will be the returns on the funds invested.”
The Wharton-QS Reimagine Education Awards & Conference 2022 was held December 5 through 8. Organised by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the British higher-education analytics company QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the event featured sessions that took place online, at the Knowledge Hub, and at the Wharton School’s campus in Philadelphia.
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