As the world changes at a faster pace than we can perceive, we are witnessing the increasingly important role played by knowledge in the development of modern-day societies. Investing in knowledge is a key priority for countries that aim to expand their development and economic potential and meet the ambitious goals set out in the 2030 Agenda.
 
To support countries in this endeavor, the Knowledge Project has launched the “Knowledge Week” initiative that will be organized throughout 2018 in different capitals in the Arab region and beyond. The aim of this initiative is to drive active conversation and raise awareness on the importance of knowledge and knowledge-based policies for sustainable development.
 
The starting point for these discussions is the Global Knowledge Index (GKI). Launched by the Knowledge Project in 2017, the GKI is the only index that measures knowledge on the global level, it provides a snapshot of the status of knowledge in 131 countries and identifies areas of strength and weakness that can inform policy design and debates.
 
The first Knowledge Week was held in Egypt from 6 to 12 March 2018, and it engaged around 2,100 people among students, professors, and researchers. It started off from the Zewail City of Science and Technology in Cairo, then reached Nile University, and different faculties in Alexandria University.
 
The discussions revolved around ways to achieve a knowledge society, how to face illiteracy, and how to develop skills and capacities that can match the changing labor market landscape of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
 
The Knowledge Project also presented the Global Knowledge Index to the educational institutions, which are pivotal to shaping youth and future generations. “The Global Knowledge Index will help Egypt define the positive and negative factors that are impacting Egypt’s position on the World map of knowledge, innovation, and scientific research,” Dr. Shareef Sadaki, the Academic President of Zewail City of Science and Technology.
 
Egypt ranks 95 out of 131 countries in the Global Knowledge Index, with a total score of 40/100 – below the global average which stands at 47/100. The country scores above global average in the higher education sector, but underperforms particularly in the research, development and innovation sector. The relatively weak general enabling environment is also a factor that negatively impacts Egypt’s total score.
 
“People will be measured by their knowledge, as 30% of jobs will not exist by 2030, we have no choice but to develop our academic programs,” Dr. Isam Kurdi, President of Alexandria University.
 
In addition to the sessions with universities, a Knowledge Forum was organized jointly with the Ahram Foundation, one of the key media institutions in Egypt, to discuss the role of media and its effect on the fourth industrial revolution.
 
After Egypt, next stops of the “Knowledge Week” in 2018 will include Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and several capitals beyond the Arab States region, such as Paris, London and New York.