NATIONS (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
on Sunday hailed a plan for the largest expansion of education
opportunity in history, describing education as “the most
powerful investment we can make in the future; a fundamental
driver of personal, national and global development.”
The statement came as the
secretary-general was speaking at the launch of a report by the
International Commission on Financing Global Education
“The report launched today sets out a
plan for the largest expansion of education opportunity in
history,” Ban noted. “It is a roadmap to creating the
“The report points to education as the
most powerful investment we can make in the future; a
fundamental driver of personal, national and global
development,” he said.
“It makes the case for investment in
education as a prerequisite for economic growth, sustainable
development and global stability,” he said.
The report—The Learning Generation:
Investing in Education for a Changing World—noted that without
an urgent increase in education investments by national
governments, children in low-income countries will remain
trapped in intergenerational cycles of poverty and be left
without the skills and knowledge they need to contribute to
their societies and economies when they reach adulthood.
More than 1.5 billion adults will have
no education beyond primary school in 2030, according to the
“The international community must be
ready to support countries that commit to making the reforms
and investments needed to transform their education
systems,” Ban said.
“At a time of multiple global crises,
the crisis in education is eminently solvable,” he said.
When more than 250 million children
are out of school, and another 330 million children are
failing to achieve the most basic learning outcomes, he
said, “we cannot hope to achieve the promise of the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The 2030 Agenda was approved in
September 2015 as the blueprint for the global development
efforts for the next 15 years.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4
on inclusive and equitable quality education is a catalyst, Ban
noted, adding that an accelerator that will turbo-charge
progress on the other 16 goals and deliver for people, planet,
prosperity, peace and partnerships.
“But if current trends continue, we
will not achieve universal primary education until 2042, and
upper secondary education until 2084,” he said. “We will
miss SDG4 by half a century.”
Meanwhile, Ban said, “Education is the
key to preventing the spread of poisonous ideologies and
“The extremists and terrorists know
this,” he said. “That is why they have repeatedly attacked
schools: in Kenya, in Pakistan, in Nigeria. They fear
children, and particularly girls, with books.”
Investment in high-quality education
that promotes critical thinking and universal values is a key
element of my Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, he
Furthermore, education is a human
right and a universal good, he said.
When the United Nations conducted the
global survey that led to the creation of the Sustainable
Development Goals, the world body asked the world’s people what
mattered most to them, he said.
Seven million people took part in the
survey, he said. “More than five million of them said
education was their top priority.”
“For too long, quality education has
been accessible to the privileged few in our world,” he
added. “Our world is not prosperous, if it is too poor to
educate its children.”