"Education is the Beating Heart of a Nation's Future Plans"

Published October 20th, 2009 - 01:43 GMT

- Crown Prince Addresses Leading Educators in Bahrain at Inaugural Education Project

Education is the most important issue to the future of any country, His Highness Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and Chairman of the Kingdom's Economic Development Board (EDB), told leading international education experts attending the inaugural Education Project in Bahrain.

The Education Project was initiated by His Highness Shaikh Salman and organised by the EDB to address the widening inequality gap in global education. Despite the priority that governments around the globe have placed on education, the rate of return on educational investments - especially in developing nations - has been unsubstantial.

The Crown Prince said, "People are what make a country. They are the key to a country's growth and they are entitled to the education and training they need to win good jobs and a good income for their family. Yet we all know there are gaps in the quality of the world's education systems. In spite of good intentions, increased spending on education often fails to deliver the expected improvements. Too many young men and women - in developed and emerging nations - are thrown into the jobs market without the skills they need to stay afloat in post-industrial, knowledge-based economies.

"Identifying and investing in the right sort of education to unlock the full potential of every individual is one of the greatest challenges facing the world of the twenty first century. The Education Project is a chance for educationalists to work together as an international team - with a focus on doing, not just talking. We have come together to explore solutions and strategies that can help educators around the world to shape the future of education - and make a difference, for every society and for every section of society."

According to UNESCO's Institute for Lifelong Learning, 774 million adults are illiterate. Yet a single year of primary school increases the wages people earn in later life by between 5 and 15 percent for boys and even more for girls. For each additional year of secondary school, a person's wages increase by 15 to 25 percent.

The Crown Prince added that the Education Project has grown out of Bahrain's experience in learning from the best education systems around the world. Bahrain was the first country in the Gulf to introduce a public education system in 1919, and to open education to women in 1928.

The Crown Prince added that the conclusions from the global forum - to become an annual platform - would help educators worldwide to shape the future of education and make a difference by implementing outcomes and making practical changes.

The EDB has overall responsibility for formulating and overseeing the economic strategy of the Kingdom. Education and training is an important pillar underpinning Bahrain's Economic Vision 2030 and National Economic Strategy.

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