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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Ban Ki-moon sees education as “most
powerful investment” for future

UNITED 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 Opportunity.

“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 Learning Generation.”

“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 report.

“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 violent extremism.” 

“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 said. 

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.”

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