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Seminar Held on findings from Joint Research Project between Brookings Institution and JICA

February 13, 2013

On January 31, a seminar titled “Arab Spring Countries: Beyond Political Upheaval and toward Inclusive Growth” was convened at the Brookings Institution, located in Washington D.C., U.S.

 

The event aimed to discuss the future of Arab countries, drawing on the findings from five published papers; these five papers, outcomes of the first-year research project, are part of a three-year research collaboration between the Brookings Institution and JICA.
JICA-RI Research Fellow Takako Yuki’s research team wrote one of the five, taking Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East. The paper analyzes an international comparison and domestic disparities in equity of educational opportunity as well as learning achievement; the paper also highlights the importance of proper deployment of teachers, enhancement of transparency in the school management including community participation, grant provision, and the effective monitoring system with use of existing data.

Seminar panelists included: vice president Kemal Dervi?, director of Global Economy and Development, senior fellow Hafez Ghanem, head of the joint research project, both from the Brookings Institution; Inger Andersen, vice president of the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank; Heidi Crebo-Rediker, chief economist at the U.S. State Department; and from JICA, Akihiko Koenuma, director-general of the Middle East and Europe Department.

 

At the beginning of the seminar, Mr. Dervi? outlined the joint project. Then Mr. Ghanem, introducing respective five papers, presented his view that both poor governance that lacked transparency in its economic growth and an absence of equity and social justice attributed to the movement of Arab Spring. He also touched on the findings of Yuki’s paper as an example, pointing out that the poor quality of education impeded an inclusive growth. He stressed that youth unemployment and lack of entrepreneurship resulted from unequal educational opportunity, relevance with market needs, and the quality of basic education, along with focus on the importance of upgrading the education system. Finally, taking up Yemen once again as an example, Mr. Ghanem explained the significance of monitoring system of real situation of each school as well as of teachers.

 

Koenuma, panelist from JICA, emphasized that Japan has strived to promote local ownership, including the support for the education sector. He noted that governance and transparency can be nurtured in the process of advancing aid to developing countries.

 

Ms. Crebo-Rediker pointed out that education leads to opportunities to find decent jobs, which is the main factor of the problems Arab countries have been facing. She also referred to the fact that employment, education, youth, women, and accountability were all deeply interconnected.

 

To wrap up the seminar, Mr. Ghanem stressed that support for building new democratic institutions that can ensure transparency and democracy will is key to future efforts of donors, as well as to the quality of education. He also pointed out the importance of collaboration among donors for inclusive growth and social justice under the democratic systems.

 

Besides attending the seminar at the Brookings Institution, Yuki’s team visited the headquarters of the World Bank and of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to present the paper to a senior education specialist in charge of Yemen and to exchange opinions regarding new educational strategies and the direction of donor support for the country.

 

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DayJanuary 31, 2013(Thu)
PlaceWashington, D.C., US

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