Press releases

The WorldClass Education Challenge: Deloitte and the World Economic Forum launch latest UpLink initiative to advance education solutions

  • Seeking submissions for innovative learning solutions focused on Africa
    and Asia
  • Submissions selected will receive up to US$1 million in professional services on a pro bono basis along with financial grants
  • The Innovation Challenge builds upon Deloitte’s WorldClass initiative
    and helps advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #4 to provide a quality education for all
  • UpLink, the World Economic Forum’s open innovation platform, connects social impact entrepreneurs to the resources, expertise and experience to help bring about positive societal impact

South Africa, Johannesburg, 12 May 2021— Today, Deloitte and the World Economic Forum (the Forum) announced the launch of The WorldClass
Education Challenge
, a joint initiative inviting educators, entrepreneurs, and innovators to work alongside Deloitte professionals to advance solutions that will support access to a quality education for more of the world’s students. In collaboration with the Forum, Deloitte is seeking submissions via UpLink to discover, invest, and scale novel educational approaches that have proven successful at advancing learning during the pandemic. The world is at a critical junction to prepare the more than one billion school-aged children for the jobs
of the future, which will require a lifelong commitment to learning.  

This Innovation Challenge builds upon the existing efforts of Deloitte’s WorldClass initiative to support 100 million individuals by 2030 in accessing the quality education, skills, and opportunities required for the future of work.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted students' education worldwide while also illustrating the possibilities for what learning in the future could look like. Unless urgent action is taken now, this moment could prove to be a year of lost learning, exacerbating education inequity. Deloitte and the Forum have been inspired to launch this Innovation Challenge to improve the educational outlook for more of the world’s students. Solutions in Africa and Asia, where the majority of the world’s children and youth will live and learn over the next decade, are the primary focus.

The Cohort selected will receive up to US$1 million in professional services on a pro bono basis, financial grants, a dedicated relationship manager to support the organisations’ collaboration with Deloitte, and participation in selected Forum and Deloitte events, projects, and communities.

“I deeply appreciate the impact that education has had in the transformation of my life. For Africa to play it's part in the transformation of the global economy, access to quality education across the continent is fundamental,” says Bongisipho Nyembe, Managing Partner for Responsible Business and Public Policy at Deloitte Africa. “As we embrace the impact of the 4IR we have to invest in future-fit education systems. We are confident that innovative yet practical solutions will emerge with the Uplink challenge. We cannot miss this opportunity to transform lives and enable access to quality and equitable education even in the most remote areas across Africa.”

Submissions will be accepted via the Forum’s UpLink WorldClass Education Challenge page from 12 May 2021 – 20 June 2021. Proposals must demonstrate the ability to reach scale, and address one, or more, of the following areas:

  • Equitable access to education: We are looking for models that provide equitable access for students who are being left behind. Learning cannot be limited only to those with access to an in-person classroom and teacher. Girls around the world, children in rural communities, and other marginalised groups have been disproportionately affected by unequal access to education.
  • Investing in teachers: We are looking for models that invest in the teaching profession and teachers’ future-ready skills so they, in turn, can better prepare students for the new economy.  We must invest in, provide development opportunities for, and continually upskill teachers while also attracting top talent to the profession.
  • Skills for the future: We are looking for models that invest in the skills students will need in 2030 and beyond. One billion global youth will enter the workforce over the next decade into jobs that do not exist today. Educators have the daunting task of bridging the gap between what is taught in the classroom today and the jobs of the future.

“We are thrilled to be launching the WorldClass Education Challenge on UpLink; this is our first Innovation Challenge to address SDG 4: Quality Education,” says John Dutton, Head of UpLink, World Economic Forum. “It is a real opportunity for us to surface the creativity and ingenuity which we know exists within local ventures, and to connect these to influential networks with the resources and the drive to scale them.”  

Deloitte is launching this Innovation Challenge via UpLink – a free and open digital platform which Deloitte designed and developed in collaboration with The Forum and Salesforce. UpLink is a platform to crowdsource solutions, which address the world’s most pressing issues, as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals,  and seeks to connect the most-promising submissions to the expertise, resources and networks which can scale the venture and accelerate their impact.

About the Deloitte societal-impact commitment

Deloitte’s purpose, to make an impact that matters, compels us to act on the increasingly complex challenges society faces today. We are committed to responsible business practices, serving the public interest and working to create a better, more sustainable world for people, our clients and the planet.

Through WorldClass we aim to develop job skills, improve educational outcomes and expand opportunities for 100 million people worldwide by 2030. Our WorldClimate strategy sets out our approach to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 and engage our professionals and collaborate with our clients to address the climate crisis. Our ALL IN diversity, equity and inclusion strategy supports a culture where all Deloitte people have equal opportunities to grow, develop and succeed.

Learn more about our commitments here.

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