Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi announced that he was planning to launch a campaign — 100 million for 100 million — targeting 100 million youth, whose idealism, energy and enthusiasm would help liberate the 100 million children shackled in slavery and poverty across the world.
His new organisation, The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, “is trying to work for more comprehensive [child rights] policy. We want to build a big, strong people’s movement,” he said, announcing the campaign at the inauguration of a one-day conference on Excellence in Education, organised by The Hindu and Blue Star on Friday.
An easy way to direct the energy of the young people in universities, colleges and schools is to make them champions, spokespersons and leaders for children, the Nobel laureate said, inviting India to lead the way in finding a solution for “children who have been denied their right to live as children.”Education is key
Education is the key for sustainable development, social, ecological, and economic development, Mr. Satyarthi said.
“For an individual, it is very important to be educated and good quality education is much more rewarding. A single year of schooling at primary level would result in an additional return of 10 to 15 per cent income in the later stage of life; similarly, every single year of secondary education would increase an individual’s income by 20 to 25 per cent,” he said, citing research.
“A study conducted by the World Bank some years ago in 50 different countries proved with empirical evidence that one single year of education in whole society increased the GDP by 0.37 per cent. If the entire society is educated for 10 years, it goes up to four per cent. It has a strong economic impact.
“If all children are educated in the least developing countries then 71 million people can get rid of poverty and there will be 12 per cent reduction in poverty. If you are able to ensure good quality education, the returns would be much higher,” he said.Lack of quality
Mr. Satyarthi dwelt on the lack of quality education which led to poor performance of children in primary schools.
Though the country had produced a large number of engineers, around 80 per cent of them were unemployable.
“The question is whether we want to create fuel of economic engine or those who can care for the nation, and global society,” Mr. Satyarthi said.
Terror against schools
Schools were using children as shields to perpetuate terrorism, he said, citing instances of terror outfits like ISIS that picked up thousands of girls; the killing of innocent children in a school in Pakistan; and the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram.
The Nobel laureate urged teachers to “Listen to your students; the parents of students; the situation. We have to learn from the children, educators must learn what is happening in technology, the learning process must go on.”
Earlier, Editor of The Hindu Mukund Padmanabhan, who welcomed the gathering, said the idea of the event was to engage with the readers, besides being part of their daily life as a newspaper.