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At the Heart of a Resilient Future: Investing in Education for Our Children and Youth

Follow the event on Twitter #EndLearningPoverty

The education and skills crises exacerbated by COVID-19 were at the forefront of the October 12th, 2022 flagship Annual Meetings event, which featured speakers from government, civil society, multi-lateral organizations, and the private sector.


Prolonged pandemic-related school closures and the learning losses suffered by children have been staggering. Today, 70 percent of 10-year-olds in low and middle-income countries are unable to understand a simple written text. Meanwhile, over a billion young people have had their education and training opportunities interrupted. This loss of employment and skills will cause lasting damage to the productivity of current and future generations. Without action, this generation of students now risks losing US$21 trillion in potential lifetime earnings in present value, equivalent to a reduction of 10% in lifetime earnings for each year of schooling lost.

“We have an economic and moral imperative to improve education systems around the world,” said World Bank President David Malpass who moderated the first panel on recovering the learning losses.

The panel discussion featured Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr., Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Liberia, Catherine Russell, Executive Director, UNICEF, and Shafiq Khan, President & CEO, Teach the World Foundation. Panelists discussed how COVID has struck a hard blow and what countries and organizations are trying to do to recover learning losses and accelerate learning outcomes.

“The key to transforming education is political commitment,” said Russell. “Leaders have to make this a priority. Because, if not, this learning crisis could become a learning catastrophe.”

Minister Tweah spoke about the challenge of investing in education amid other pressing development challenges. He said not doing so would come at a cost.

“Human capital is a serious challenge. It’s not just an education challenge, it’s an economic challenge. Because if we don’t invest adequately, we compromise the future,” Tweah said.

On social media, governments echoed the need for long-term investments in education:

The losses are not limited to primary and secondary education.

In a second panel moderated by Mari Pangestu, World Bank Managing Director, Development Policy and Partnerships, panelists discussed the challenges of youth unemployment and the interruption of skills training during COVID. Mari was joined by H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank Group, Dr. Betty Vandenbosch, Chief Content Officer, Coursera, and Augustine Mayabi, Deputy Director, Ministry of ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs, Kenya, and National Project Coordinator for the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP).

The panel explored the opportunities presented by digital transformation, innovative partnerships and investment in skills development. Dr. Al Jasser emphasized anticipating future workforce needs and continual up-skilling:

Mayabi described how KYEOP targets vulnerable youth: “That this group, even if they have no formal or informal education, can also receive skills and be employable—that’s lesson number one. We don’t have to condemn them.”

Panelists also emphasized the need to match the training and education opportunities to the job market, and the importance of targeting vulnerable youth and young women for more inclusive development.

00:00 Welcome! Annual Meetings | Investing in Education

04:13 Data in focus: Education & youth employment

07:03 How to overcome the learning crisis caused by the pandemic 

29:46 How young people were affected and initiatives ahead
Panel discussion with - Catherine Russell, Executive Director, @UNICEF 
- Samuel D. Tweah Jr, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Liberia
- Shafiq Khan, President and Founding Partner, Teach the World Foundation
Moderated by David R. Malpass, President of the World Bank Group

33:23 Jobs and skills for young people
- Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, Chairman, Islamic Development Bank Group 
- Augustine Mayabi, Deputy Director, Ministry of ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs, and the National Project Coordinator for the KYEOP
- Dr. Betty Vandenbosch , Chief Content Officer, Coursera 
Moderated by Mari Pangestu, Managing Director, Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank

01:01:08 Live Q&A

01:05:14 Spoken Word Poetry Competition: Nora Anyidoho, Ghana

01:06:49 Social media conversation and poll

01:09:52 Key takeaways and closure