Global Education Reimagined

Akilah and Accenture Partner to Match Student Aspirations with Future Workforce Demands

Karen Sherman
3 min readMay 21, 2019

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By Karen Sherman, President of The Akilah Institute and the author of the forthcoming book Brick by Brick: Building Hope and Opportunity for Women Survivors Everywhere

Education institutions across the globe are compelled to reinvent their academic and financial models. They are looking at a future filled with unprecedented challenges and new opportunities. Population growth, urbanization, environmental degradation, and technological innovation will no doubt transform how we learn and work.

The Akilah Institute is at the forefront of that shift. Akilah is preparing to scale its educational model to millions of learners who will be ready to meet those challenges and opportunities.

Accenture, a leading global professional services company that has authored several reports on the future of work and the digital economy, is a key partner in helping Akilah to hone important aspects of its learning model. The team from Accenture found five significant trends that are transforming the global education landscape:

  • Condensing the academic experience so students spend less time in the classroom, more time out in the “real world”
  • Reducing the focus on credentials for credentials sake
  • Breaking down financial barriers to create more affordable and meaningful options for students
  • Building stronger ties between industry and education to introduce practical, market-based skills early and throughout the education process
  • Placing a greater emphasis on project-centered learning

Accenture highlighted areas where Akilah could capitalize on opportunities to better meet student and industry demands in Africa, Asia, and beyond. Recognizing Akilah’s core strengths in personalized learning, innovation, ethical leadership, and sustainability, they encouraged the introduction of new skills in areas such as virtual collaboration, computational thinking, innovation and design as well as new specializations based on future market trends. Supply chain and logistics, digital marketing and communications, innovation management, agriculture and the environment were called out as potential high impact programs. Human adaptation to climate change alone is projected to create 60 million new jobs worldwide by 2030, a good number of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Student practical experience remains core to the future of education, and to Akilah as well. By further tailoring the mix of learning methods for each academic major, Akilah harmonizes student aspirations with future workforce demands. For example, business management and entrepreneurship students could spend more time off-campus focused on the intersection of business with analytics and technology or preparing to launch their own enterprises. Information systems (IS) students could delve into actual projects and programs where they think critically about the application of technology in the rapidly changing IS space.

Leveraging strategic partnerships with academic institutions, technology companies and all manner of employers helps Akilah to achieve its goal of a transformative, scalable education model that connects a million learners to the global economy over the next decade. This includes additional collaboration with current partners like Yale University on sustainable development, kLab and Cisco Systems on technology, and Marriott International on global internships and job placements in the hospitality sector, as well as developing new partnerships.

Other educational institutions are starting to implement innovative new learning models to support their students, while more traditional institutions risk failure or being left behind, or worse, leaving their students behind. Akilah won’t let that happen. Instead, it will stay focused on continued experimentation and research, testing new technologies that will enable its students to not only compete in, but disrupt the global marketplace. Now more than ever before, we need a generation of leaders who are focused on innovative solutions.

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Karen Sherman

President of @akilahinstitute. AUTHOR. ADVOCATE. UPSTANDER. 2020 Book Release: “Brick by Brick: Building Hope and Opportunity for Women Survivors Everywhere”