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Tackling the coronavirus*

Contributing to a global effort

What are the impacts and consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on our lives and our societies – and what are some of the solutions we can find to boost our healthcare systems, secure our businesses, maintain our jobs and education, and stabilise financial markets and economies?

Find solutions here:


OECD Policy Observatory on Artificial Intelligence*

Africapolis: Mapping a new reality*

*by OECD

Oxford diversity jumps *

A record 70% of Oxford University’s undergraduates next year will come from state schools. Five years ago state school applicants to Oxford received just 56% of undergraduate offers and 43% went to those educated at independent schools, despite a substantial imbalance in the numbers applying. The university found itself regularly criticised for ignoring well-qualified, state-educated students, especially from black or disadvantaged backgrounds. Target Oxbridge – a diversity recruitment programme which has the author Zadie Smith as a patron – says it has helped a record number of British students of black heritage gain places at Oxford and Cambridge. Naomi Kellman, one of its founders, said: “We started with just six students in 2012, and so it is amazing to see the programme now supporting over 70 black British students to secure Oxbridge offers.”

*The Guardian

What is the Global Refugee Forum?*

The event is the first of its kind and will be held on December 17 and 18 in Geneva – then every four years. It is co-hosted by the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR and the Swiss government.

It’s an opportunity for countries, international organisations, businesses and other stakeholders to pledge action and innovative solutions for more than 70 million people currently displaced by violence and persecution.

It follows on from the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees, a blueprint for governments, organisations and others to help refugees thrive in exile. It has four key objectives:

  • Ease pressure on host countries
  • Enhance refugee self-reliance
  • Expand access to third-country solutions
  • Support conditions in countries of origin for refugees to return in safety and dignity

Continue reading

Our Failure to Protect: Political commitment is vital to prevent and respond to young newcomers going missing in Europe*

It is 2015, and Europol have sent a shockwave through Europe with news that, according to national reports, at least 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children have gone missing; today, we know that this was only the tip of the iceberg. Between 2014 and 2017, at least 30,000 young newcomers, escaping violence or poverty in their home countries, disappeared on European soil (Source: European Migration Network). Children going missing in migration risk facing exploitation, violence, starvation, homelessness and physical and mental health problems. Our failure to protect them from such risks is a violation of their fundamental rights. Continue reading

Just launched: OECD Economic Outlook 2019

World GDP growth fell to 2.9% this year

The Economic Outlook includes a general assessment and notes summarising developments and providing projections for each individual country. This issue also includes focus notes on topical policy questions: addressing trade-distorting government support, escaping the low-inflation trap and strengthening the role of fiscal policy.

Read the full report

OECD Audio Abstracts: Health at a Glance 2019

Wondering where Health is heading in less than a minute? Try the OECD Audio Abstract for Health at a Glance 2019. Be sure to let us know what you think!

Listen to the abstract –

Youth Skills Crisis in South Asia and beyond*

Urgent action is needed to tackle the youth skills crisis in South Asia. Globally, the region embraces the largest youth population. The young people, incl. in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, have recently addressed their governments to commit and deliver on policies on training and employment. Outdated education systems are cited as being part of the concern relating to the future workforce skills. The awareness of relevant skills is another big issue.

As a young Indian systems engineer in a local village puts it, for the promotion of relevant skills “investment in sustainable and accessible institutions” of the future is vital. The step would bridge the gap “between the teaching standards and industry demands.”

This is how youth from across the region share their experiences with good practices of skills development:

17-year-old Neeshan from Hulhumalé, Maldives has spent two years in an apprenticeship program relating to her ambition: to study civil engineering. The hard skills she has learnt run in parallel with her ability to challenge stereotypes – she is the only female at the site where she gains experience.

16-year-old Mahadi from Bhola, Bangladesh, between his studies, chairs the student welfare club. As Bangladesh is a disaster-prone country, the young people cooperate with the authoritative bodies of their village, families and communities to address the consequences of climate change-induced poverty. An example is the action the club takes to ensure steps are made to restore the child’s access to education.

Youth4Jobs initiative in India, in cooperation with the private sector, supports youth with physical, speech and hearing disabilities. Training and placement of graduates in IT companies are a component of the initiative.

A skill-match programme for specific job-roles in telecom firms, for instance, is also taking hold in some countries of the region. Digitally-enabled self-learning part of the programme allows for further training and assessment of the skills. The step improves the quality of learning and training. That is expected to unleash waves of opportunity and possible higher employability.

Youth in conflict zones, and Afghanistan is an immediate reference, faces training for employment with private sector entities. This workforce development programme funded by foreign donors consists of three levels to “determine labour market needs and skills training requirements.”

The region can set a good practice for the world. The concerns in South Asia are not an isolated case. The urgent action is a global wake-up call to governments, businesses and young people themselves. The impact on education and skills because of automation, digitisation, and other consequences of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is in full swing in the EU and other regions of the world as well. The 2030 skills scorecard throws light on the world’s deficit of skills. To make the future less bleak in that respect a transformation of the “skills landscape” for the next generations is a must. How to unlock investment and build new partnerships that embrace all stakeholders is at the heart of addressing what turns to be a “massive crisis”: will the young people have the skills needed for the workplace of the future?

*based on data provided by Theirworld


How to be Human: The Manual by Ruby Wax*

Probably as many science-fiction books will tell you, it was all part of the ‘bigger plan’ that we evolved to this moment in time to build computers that can take over from the old worn-out models called ‘us’. What’s coming in the future is coming. You can’t stop evolution, and the technological add-ons that are here, or almost here, are becoming extensions of us.  Continue reading

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