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Davos: What’s needed to get primary education on track?

The BBC’s Politics Show presenter Jon Sopel is moderating a discussion on cross-sector partnerships. I’m on the panel with Accenture and IKEA. Amazingly it’s a decent turnout at 7am (after a late night for most, compounded with jet lag for many). Are non-governmental organisations and businesses converging? What will partnerships look like in another decade? It’s a  classic Davos fringe meeting.  There’s encouraging levels of enthusiasm and a few new partnership ideas emerge.

I can hear helicopters — it must be Friday and the mega-players are arriving. Sure enough, shortly after Bill and Melinda (Gates) wander by. President Shimon Perez of Israel is rumoured to be here. The gent’s loos are reportedly commandeered by Chinese security personnel.  And, oh look, here comes Boris.

I’m catching quick meetings with CEOs I’d struggle to get time with normally.  So I miss what I hear was a great session on global talent mobility – a big issue for Save the Children.

Everyone without a minder admits to being triple booked and labouring under a sense of missed opportunities.

I rush to a different location (at least its stopped snowing) for a session on ‘Redesigning a healthy start’. It’s actually pretty obvious what’s needed in terms of health, education and nutrition – so what’s holding things back?  We even have the economic argument – a 5% reduction in child mortality leads to a 1% increase in economic growth.

On to another session, somewhat grandly entitled ‘Setting the global education agenda for the 21st century’ moderated by John Chambers of Cisco. The world is off track to achieve universal primary education by 2015.  Debate as to what’s needed – more innovation or more accountability?  Surely it’s both.

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