Since its establishment 45 years ago, the IsDB has funded 2,000 educational projects in 136 countries, including Member Countries and Muslim communities in non-Member Countries, at a total cost in excess of US$ 5 billion, and presented 17,000 scholarships in various specialisations. The IsDB also established a fund with a capital of US$ 500 million to support innovative projects that help find solutions to development issues in the areas of education, health, infrastructure, energy, water and use science, technology and innovation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
IsDB's interest in education arises from three key considerations:
First: Education is a human right and must be available to all.
Second: Man is at the heart of development and leads it. Building human capital guarantees success in development.
Third: All countries, including IsDB Member Countries, have committed to implementing the SDGs, including SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and the role of the IsDB to help Member Countries achieve the SDGs.
Following the World Health Organisation's announcement of Coronavirus a global pandemic, countries were forced to close educational institutions in order to preserve the lives of the students and the staff, but teaching did not stop. Countries that have the required infrastructure and technology have been able to prepare their educational institutions to continue education remotely. However, in other countries lacking the educational and technological infrastructure, families, especially those living in remote areas, do not have the capabilities to help their children pursue distance learning, as this requires the provision of devices, Internet connection and all other basic requirements. At the same time, some Member Countries have achieved tangible success in operationalising the e-learning systems immediately after the outbreak of the pandemic.
In these cases, the IsDB is fully prepared to play the role of mediator, catalyst and facilitator among Member Countries to transfer success stories from one member country to another. The Bank bears the relevant costs in order to ensure access to sustainable education for all, especially in times of emergency and crisis. The Bank will also use part of its resources devoted to education to assist Member Countries with their efforts towards digital transformation in education and the use of the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This will be done in cooperation and partnership with international financial institutions, civil society institutions, charitable organisations and the private sector through mobilising technical, financial and human resources for the benefit of member countries so that everyone can have access to education.
The IsDB welcomes the strategic partnership with ICESCO to harness the potential of the two institutions to serve the education sector in Member Countries and meet the requirements of the coming phase.
Once the Corona crisis is over, God willing, the world, and our countries as part of it, will live a new reality that will require unconventional business models in the areas of education, teaching and investment in the outputs and applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The truth is that we now live in this reality, that is, we live in the future. So, if we do not invest in this domain, the costs that our Member Countries will bear in the event of crises will be much greater than the current investments. Therefore, it is my view that the COVID-19 pandemic has opened opportunities for us to upgrade the quality of education, reduce and rationalise expenditure and prepare generations that will help boost their countries’ competitiveness in global markets.