New York – Good morning. Yesterday was a big day. We launched our Education First initiative. I thank so many of you for taking part. But now it’s the morning after. The key to success is translating excitement into delivery – turning promises into results.
That is why I started Education First.
The world made a promise in the year 2000: Every child would have access to quality education by 2015.
We made important progress – but it is stalled. This troubles me.
We cannot let 61 million children remain out of school in the 21st century.
We cannot let 250 million children go to school and not learn.
We cannot have young people growing up without the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be productive members of our society.
Our societies cannot afford it. And neither can businesses.
Businesses need a creative, skilled, innovative workforce.
We know upgrading skills through adult literacy, continuing education and lifelong learning makes for more productive workers.
And investing in education creates a generation of skilled people who will have rising incomes and demands for products and services – creating new markets and new opportunities for growth.
So I thank you for your pledges and commitments.
But I ask you to continue to lead the way.
Corporate philanthropy is critical, but we need more companies to think about how their business policies and practices can impact education priorities.
You understand investment. You focus on the bottom-line. You know the dividends of education for all society.
Once again, thank you for your commitment to action.
The United Nations, our Global Compact, my Special Envoy – all of us — stand ready to support the Global Business Coalition for Education as you support Education First.