Saturday Headlines

Scaling Up Education On A Global Level
As diverse as the global community may be, virtually every nation and culture recognizes the importance of education, as well as the critical role and educated population plays in determining whether a country will have a prosperous future.

From that realization has grown a movement to scale quality learning for children and youth in low- and middle-income countries around the world. In fact, quality education is embedded in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which 193 countries have pledged to support.

The commitment is shared by private companies, such as Google, which have chosen to investment in improving education outcomes in countries around the world. Just this week, Google announced plans to scale up its digital learning, setting a goal to train 300,000 people in South Africa, where 35 percent of 15-to-34-year-olds are unemployed.

A further 400,000 Nigerians and 200,000 Kenyans will receive free digital training, while another 100,000 people will be selected from other sub-Saharan Africa countries.

As part of its Millions Learning project, the Brookings Institution has released a new report that focused on identifying where and how education interventions are scaling quality education in developing nations.

“Ultimately, Millions Learning finds that scaling quality learning requires a new norm of inclusive and adaptive education ecosystems—where there is space for innovation and experimentation to thrive, as well as the ability for ideas and approaches that most effectively improve learning to take root and spread,” write the report’s authors in a summary of their findings.

They contend governments must also “actively foster an environment in which all actors can effectively contribute their expertise—from households, to communities, to civil society organizations, to the private sector, and to academia. This requires leveraging all assets these actors bring as well as ensuring that the most marginalized children are reached.”

Time To Recognize A Palestinian State?
Writing in Middle East Eye, the Brookings Institution’s Ibrahim Fraihat contends President Barack Obama should capitalize on the political protection provided by being a lame-duck president to move forward and recognize a Palestinian state.

Fraihat argues that the groundwork has been laid for recognition by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry and that if he moves forward now, who his successor is will not be able to reverse that recognition.

“By recognizing a Palestinian state now, Obama will have seized an historical opportunity to impact the future and establish a foundation for the next American administration in the Middle East. No matter who comes to the White House, they will have to deal with this new fact. Obama has the international community on his side in recognizing Palestine,” he suggests.

How To Fight Extremism: Former CIA Director Offers Five “Big Ideas”
In a Washington Post op-ed, former CIA Director David Petraeus recognizes the fight for extremism will not be won (or lost) in the next decade, but that it will require planning for a “long war” that could last generations.

The former commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and one of the most decorated officer of his generation, was the primary force behind the Bush administration’s decision to implement a “surge” in military force in Iraq. While the surge has been credited with turning the tide in the war, Petraeus said it was not the most impactful element.

“I have often noted that the surge that mattered most in Iraq was not the surge of forces. It was the surge of ideas, which guided the strategy that ultimately reduced violence in the country so substantially,” he asserts.

To conquer the radical ideas which have spawned thousands upon thousands of young men and women to join various terrorist groups will require planners to consider five lessons learned from past conflicts, including the irrefutable need for the United States to lead.

“[I]t is also increasingly clear that, in responding to these challenges, U.S. leadership is imperative. If the United States does not lead, it is unlikely that another country will. Moreover, at this point, no group of other countries can collectively approach U.S. capabilities. This does not mean that the United States needs to undertake enormous efforts to counter extremist groups in each case. To the contrary, the United States should do only what is absolutely necessary, and we should do so with as many partners as possible,” says Petraeus.

He adds that former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was right when he observed, “There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.”

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