President Peter Mutharika has cautioned countries in the world that failing to invest in education is creating a time bomb.
He said so far, 250 million children and youth are out of school; 800 million youth are failing to have basic secondary level skills and a million others not learning despite being in school.
“The consequences of such large numbers receiving poor or no education is scaring. Soon or later, these children will return to haunt our economies as destructive consumers. We need to invest in them now so that they become productive labour forces of our economies.
“Let it never be doubted. We will always pay the cost of failing to educate our children. There is always a cost of not educating someone,” warned Mutharika on Monday at the United Nations in New York when he co-chaired a high-level meeting for UN International Commission on Financing Global Education.
He co-chaired the commission with former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Mutharika is champion for Higher Education in Africa among other crowns.
He urged countries to invest in education which he said is catalyst for development.
“Financing global education is a serious cause to which we must dedicate ourselves. We have an urgent task before us because an entire generation of children all over the world is waiting for the outcome of our actions.
“Education is the foundation of socio-economic development in every country. But let me urge nations to invest in balanced education. We must encourage Member Statesto invest in thetrinity of education, that is: knowledge, character and skills,” he said.
He also asked countries to prioritise skills education as a means of empowering human societies, including women, the youth and persons with disabilities.
“At the same time, we create skilled labour societies that are equipped to generate industrial growth. This is what we need to spur sustainable economic growth in developing countries. In the case of Africa, there is a general consensus that Africa needs to industrialise. But we need to create skilled labour societies who must be indigenous productive drivers of our economies,” he said.
He appealed for financial support for the commission to be able to help countries finance education. He thanked some organisations that have supported the commission’s international finance facility for education.
“We are thankful for the positive signals of support we have begun to receive from various institutions. We are grateful to the World Bank’s $75 billion replenishment of this financing facility targeting low income countries,” he said.
Others that have given support include the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the World Bank for their Joint Statement and commitment to support the Facility.
Mutharika arrived in New York on Saturday to attend this year’s 73rd United Nations General Assembly.
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