Education for a Brighter Future – Mrs. Asmahan Zein

Education for a Brighter Future – Mrs. Asmahan Zein

Lebanon

Keynote Speech by : Mrs. Asmahan Zein

President of the Lebanese League of Women in Business and Partner at Filovault/Crypta sal

The DAN Roadshow, Beirut Feb. 2019

 

Good afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure and honor to be among you today, to share our experience, problems and future aspirations. In addition to the needs and rights of our future generation for a better education.

Before I start, it is worth mentioning that to write this speech with the right information, I had to go through different resources.

Lebanese League for Women in Business started in 2006 with a sole mission, which is to empower women, build networks, and open opportunities for them to work together and enhance their skills.

LLWB now evolved and spread their wings to work on different projects that benefit girls’ students, startups, in addition to entrepreneurs.

Two weeks ago, Lebanon hosted the Machrek initiative launched by the World Bank. The purpose was to empower women economically and find common grounds to enhance the network of women in the region (Jordan/Iraq & Lebanon).

In brief all international donors, are calling, advocating and funding programs to develop and enhance education and women empowerment.

It is no secret that Lebanon in general, has a good quality of education, although the gap between public and private schools’ level of education is big. The Lebanese University is fragmented with a lot of political interference. In addition to many unaccredited private universities that are neither monitored or controlled by any Government entity.

Many of our students graduating from most of the public schools’ and part of the private ones, lack mastering foreign languages, whether English or French, in addition to basic computer skills.  this is depriving them of the opportunity of future enrollment in the right specialty at a reputable university.

We are still following the 1997 curriculum in schools which still lag on the level of embedding the computer skills in their curriculum, the lack of professional teachers, or the lack of the needed tablets. We should not forget the huge impact of the displaced Syrian students on Lebanese public schools.

Most importantly we have no vocational schools that cater to our market needs.

Many of the private schools too lack the proper standards of education, and environment.

Today we are here to discuss how to enhance and encourage our youth to gain the needed digital skills, how to use this knowledge in developing their ideas, to be ready and qualified to either start companies that cater to the present and future needs of the Lebanese labor market, or to be employed in such companies.

Technology and Art courses (in public schools) are within the curriculum but only from the 7th grade and above, but not mandatory.

How to move forward:

In addition, it will help access to gaming (either by teachers, students, parents, or independently)

Saying the above brings me back to activities of LLWB on different platforms that cater to youth future education.

  1. In 2016 with 4 other NGOs (DOT, WIC, WIE & WIT), we started an initiative under the title of Girls got IT; up till now we managed to engage around 3000 girls’ students from all over Lebanon, for a full day of technology related hands-on activities. Twenty-One (21) practical workshops and technical break-out sessions were available for the students to engage in and gain technical hands-on skills in every edition. Girls were also given the opportunity to network and select mentors from the rich members of the five organizers. The 21 workshops were led by successful starts ups/entrepreneurs coming from various STEAM industries. This is done under the umbrella of the MEHE and in partnership with Unicef.

 

  1. Girls Day: In April of each year we invite between 100 to 150 girls graduates of GGIT, to a full day internship in different companies and factories to witness and learn the value of technology in different specialties and fields, this is done with the support of GPP our German partner (this day takes place in different parts of Lebanon)

 

  1. WIDs Day: Every March AUB/OSB invites 20 of our excelling girls’ students to attend the WIDs day that is sponsored by Stanford University. Our students get the chance to meet International professional and skilled ladies in data science, coming from different parts of the world. On top of that AUB/OSB faculty prepares for them a special round table discussion to explain the value of data science in their future studies.

 

  1. Techwood Training: is a new format of technical training, it gives a holistic approach to design, coding, execution and fabrication by using wood for manufacturing.

Mixing technical and engineering skills, the training exposes the participants to the concept of creativity and innovation and empower them with technical skills. By the end of the training the participants will be able to design, sketch and execute on their own.

The training is delivered in 3 levels over 12 days, and targeting marginalized youth aged between 16-25 years old.

 

  1. Again, in partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement & Community Service (CCECS) @ AUB & World Food program, LLWB is implementing Tech For Food project to equip 250 vulnerable youth with transferable skills for the digital economy, including basics to advanced digital skills, English language, and soft skills for free-lancing and entrepreneurship.

 

Last but not least, as you see, there is a lot of work to be done, with the support and coordination among all stakeholders whether internationally or locally.

Looking forward to future collaboration and knowledge sharing with all our partners and future partners in the MENA region.