Global leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) today called for greater investment in education, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing doubling of contribution to Global Partnership for Education to USD 180 million a year.
Speaking at a session along with girl education activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, Trudeau said that for any society to prosper, everyone has to be given the chance to succeed and to realise their dreams. Education is central to providing that chance, he said.
The Global Partnership for Education is an international organisation focused on getting all children into school for a quality education in the world's poorest countries.
Emphasising the particular importance of educating girls and women, Trudeau said: "Educate and empower women and the debate changes, the concerns change and the type of decisions made change - all for the better."
He added that Canada has adopted a "global feminist development policy", with all initiatives looked at "through a gender lens".
He called on men to be protagonists in the empowerment of women: "Men must have the courage to be feminists and the integrity to be allies."
Yousafzai urged the business sector to contribute far higher levels of funding to girls' education than they do at present.
"With investment in women, the returns are very high and the opportunity costs very low," she said. "Educated, skilled women lift economic growth, help reduce poverty, change perceptions and eradicate evils like child labour. But we must make a first step and start funding for learning." Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), said she is a proponent of a diverse education to form well-rounded citizens.
The world is wasting vast human potential by failing to properly educate young people, said Orit Gadiesh, Chairman of Bain & Company. She added that a basic education is no longer sufficient to last a person a lifetime.