DUBAI, March 19 (Xinhua) -- A new expert group comprised of 20 former Education Ministers and Heads of State was launched on Sunday on the last day of the fifth annual Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) 2017.
The new expert group will provide advice on global education issues to current governments.
The founding principle of the group is "to unite the skills and experiences of former ministers of education and former heads of state across the world to help address ongoing challenges in global education."
Members of the globally-diverse group include former US Secretary of Education under President Obama Arne Duncan; former UK Education Secretary Michael Gove; former Greek President George Papandreou; former Lebanese Minister Elias Bou Saab, and former Peruvian Minister and incoming Head of the World Bank Education team Jaime Saveedra.
The group will have its first meeting at the GESF, named after the location of its first meeting.
The Atlantis Group will act as an "advisory body" to education ministries across the world dealing with issues pertaining to education in their respective countries, drawing upon members' views and experiences to provide the highest standards and recommendations.
The group will meet annually at the GESF and on at least one other occasion annually as well.
In addition, individual members and small sub-groups may be asked to conduct further work throughout the year, such as visiting countries requesting advice demanded by education ministries.
The group will be advised by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokov; Director of Education and Skills, OECD Andreas Schleicher, and Professor Fernando Reimers (Faculty Director, International Education Policy, at Harvard University).
The Varkey Foundation who established the GESF and the one million dollar Global Teacher Prize will provide the group secretariat.
Chief Executive of the Varkey Foundation, Vikas Pota, said "Education is constantly evolving and we can learn from the experiences of the past in terms of what worked, what didn't and how we can use that knowledge to better develop the education systems of the future."
He added that this it the first time that such a group has been formed, "Group members have extensive experience, unique perspectives and can speak freely as they're no longer tied to particular Government posts," said Pota.