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BNN Spotlight: Dr. Ilham Mansour Al-Dakheel, Chair of the B20 Saudi Arabia Future of Work & Education Task Force

 

What does it mean to you personally to head the B20 Future of Work & Education Task Force?

Leading the task force on the Future of Work & Education is incredibly important to me, as I have devoted much of my professional life to the advancement of education across age, race, gender and social groups. Saudi Arabia has made great strides to create equity for education, and to be the leader of this task force as Saudi Arabia hosts the G20 Summit for the first time is an honor.

I have experience in both the private and public sectors working on education matters. These issues, of course, do not only affect Saudi Arabia and I am excited to push the policy recommendations of this task force into all G20 countries.

I hope to drive the conversation about work and education into the new decade as we tackle issues such as automation and gender equality in the workplace. The future of work and education is the future of our society, and the goal is to train the next generation for the workforce and retrain those in jobs that have been lost due to automation.

I am incredibly proud to take on the responsibility of chair of the Future of Work & Education Task Force and I look forward to working with my counterparts as we drive these issues to the forefront of policy decisions.

Can you provide an overview of the priorities for your task force?

The Future of Work & Education Task Force will address persistent challenges such as unemployment and poverty, inequalities and inefficiencies in labor markets, education, training and job opportunities. The arrival of the 4th industrial revolution accelerates the urgency to address these deficiencies. G20 nations need to prepare effectively for the impending technological, economic and demographic challenges facing the world. The task force has identified three priority themes for the B20 Summit:

  • Enabling dynamic and responsible labor markets;
  • Designing future-ready education; and
  • Upgrading the workforce and skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the goals of your task force?

The aim for the B20 Saudi Arabia Future of Work & Education Task Force is to develop recommendations in order to successfully drive policy for work and education. The broader purpose of the B20 is to serve as the voice of the private sector to ensure we form consensus-based policy recommendations in line with the priorities set forth by the Saudi G20 Presidency.

The Future of Work & Education Task Force will continue the fight against unemployment and underemployment, as well as increase labor force participation and provide quality education for all. These initiatives will drive us toward dynamic and responsible labor markets, as well as education and training systems to ensure our societies are fit for the future.

We aim to provide examples of how G20 countries can adapt their educational systems to properly train the next generation for the workplace. Automation and technology have forever changed the landscape of the worldwide workplace, creating a gap from the classroom to the workplace. The B20 Summit provides an opportunity to revitalize educational systems in an equitable way that includes women in the workplace as Saudi Arabia has done.

What is your task force doing to address the current COVID-19 pandemic? 

In the context of COVID-19, forced work from home and online education could fast track the transition to digital technologies. Organizations are realizing the benefits of digital technologies in the workplace and classroom, therefore accelerating the transition from traditional work and education. We are pushing policy that makes governments bridge the digital divide so that access to quality education online is not out of bounds for the disadvantaged.

We must also consider the effect that the current economic halt is having on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). These businesses are the largest job creators and will require a crisis fund to ensure their survival in these unexpected times. COVID-19 has also put restrictions on the movement of human and intellectual capital around the world, so G20 countries must not stifle the movements of these people after this crisis had ended. COVID-19 has created an unprecedented environment for professional and educational organizations, but in the aftermath of this crisis, great strides can be made to improve our current systems to drive the future of work and education.