Today we are launching ‘The ABE Way’ - our commitment to support learners and partners on their journey out of Covid-19, and to help them embrace uncertainty and to turn risk into opportunity.
In 2020, as the pandemic looked set to wreck the educational journeys of millions of people around the world, we made a simple but ambitious commitment: No One Left Behind. By June last year, 1.6 billion young people were shut out of classrooms – many millions would never return to education. Over 110 countries shut down their education systems. The global scale and speed of the disruption was unparalleled. It was often down to the efforts and commitment of individual companies and charities and the determination of ‘ABE-ers’ like us, that kept students progressing and this helped to reduce the number of people who would drop out.
No One Left Behind was our pledge to help keep centres running and students learning. It guided our internal decisions as much as it reassured our centres and learners of a seamless service, with adapted assessments, no delayed exams, and no calculated grades. No One Left Behind became the platform for an extended marketing campaign, but much more than that … it set out a very clear commitment that everyone could understand and share in.
Now is the right time to think about the future of the people we serve.
The economic scarring from Covid-19 will affect people for years to come. Nonetheless, education is unseizing, people are returning to the classroom and returning to work. They want to learn, they want to progress, they want to find decent work, get a promotion, or fulfil their dreams of going to university.
A post-pandemic world is a more volatile world. But it can also be a world full of opportunity. To thrive in the new global economy will take more than technical skills. It will take more than qualifications. It will require self-belief, pride in the community, and a commitment to embrace a fragile world and to build something stronger.
So today, we are moving on a stage from No One Left Behind, we’re going up a level. Having kept students learning through the worst humanitarian and economic crisis for 75 years. We now have to ask the question… How can we support those ABE learners to emerge successfully into a post-pandemic world?
Underpinning the ABE Way is a collection of beliefs.
The first is recognising that it’s important to be resilient – but it’s also not enough. To thrive in the post-pandemic world requires being ‘anti-fragile’ – which means embracing uncertainty, boldly running towards problems, and turning risk into opportunity. It’s the idea that the more problems you face effectively, the stronger you can become.
Secondly, it’s about having pride in your community, being kind, creating a safer and more prosperous world for everyone. Paying it forward and paying it back, being a better version of yourself by helping those around you … to be a better version of themselves. It’s about acting with integrity and respect – and playing a part in creating a more open, more inclusive global economy, where everyone benefits from globalisation, trade and entrepreneurship.
Finally, it’s about working hard and working smart – always pursuing innovation, thinking ahead, using evidence, soaking up pressure, not making excuses, not compromising on your goals or the quality of your work, and not backing down.
All of these characteristics are contained in the ‘ABE Way’ manifesto below, and these aspirations and behaviours define the ABE Way.
Because we believe that ABE students should refuse to change their plans… And they should have a plan to change our world.
But of course, we need to practice what we preach. All of those attributes above are already embedded in the way we work and the way we think, here at ABE. That’s why the ABE Way is not just empty talk, it’s not just a marketing gimmick… it’s a real shared experience.
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