Kailash Satyarthi (2015) - Education Needs to be Equitable and Inclusive for All

Dear laureates and young scientists, now the time when everybody's gathered here during the meeting is slowly coming to an end. And I like to take this opportunity to address you once more once we're gathered here in the Inselhalle. I think so far we've had a wonderful meeting in Lindau, and I would like to give an extra applause to the laureates who are the main reason for this. Thank you. But I don't want to forget those who have been also working very hard to make this meeting a good meeting, and as I said in the beginning, after the meeting is before the meeting, so after the meeting 2014, was before the meeting 2015. And I want to thank the scientific chairpersons and also the team. And I have some words of thank you here behind me so you read that while I talk. May I go on talking? But unfortunately, no, not unfortunately, fortunately, it's not the end yet. There are wonderful sessions to come and among these, the trip to Mainau tomorrow. And also this day, although it's not here in the venue or in other venues that you have seen in Lindau, it will be full of dialogue and interaction, it will be also a science picnic after our closing panel on Mainau tomorrow. And I just want to give you this hint; it will be a really be a picnic sitting down on the ground so when choosing your clothes for tomorrow, maybe you want to think of that. And as we expect very high temperatures for tomorrow, I also want to encourage you to bring a hat because it will be very sunny, and very warm. We'll do everything to be sitting in the shade but I want to encourage you please bring a hat. And one more thing, please be aware of the times published tomorrow as there is a boat involved and about 900 people will be on that boat, it would be very hard to turn around and pick up one or two persons who've come too late. So please be in time because once the boat is gone, it's gone. We'll find a way to get you to Mainau and back but it will be less pleasant, there will be no laureates to talk to, no other students so if you want to talk to them, please be in time. But now, I want to talk about the upcoming session. And as you could read in the program, it will be held by Kailash Satyarthi. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, together with Malala Yousafzai for the struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. And I'm particularly happy and honoured that Kailash Satyarthi accepted our invitation to come to Lindau and address you because he will talk about something very important. And I think you have already experience that yesterday evening. And here at this point, I would like to share an experience with you. Not long ago, I visited Nepal together with the trip to visit some projects of Cooperational Development Work and I brought one of our sons, he was then 18 years old. And during our trip, we met some Kamalari children, mainly girls. I don't know how many of you know what's Kamalari children are. It's a quite cruel tradition unfortunately where children work from the age of six on to 10, 12, 16. They don't suffer the most from the treatment they get from these families whom they work for, but they don't get any education. So the projects that we visited, oh, this is all happy, I shouldn't be crying. The project that we visited gives the possibility to these girls and boys to get educated after their liberation from Kamalari. And it's absolutely fascinating what these youngsters do. They walk to school up to two hours every day, back and forth, one hour. They take care of their family before they go, and they take care of their family after they come home. So they have these huge days from four in the morning until 11 in the evening. And after we had talked to these kids and youngsters, our son said to me, "You know, I really feel bad now because sometimes I hated school." And after that day, he was a very dedicated ambassador for school. And I say that to you because you'll be parents one day. I saw you all lifting your hands when Harry Kroto asked you that, so this is why I decided to tell you that actually. So now it's my pleasure to invite Kailash Satyarthi. I hope he's here to join me here on stage and to address all of us. Welcome. it is one of the biggest and most valuable place of scientists from all disciplines. And I was wondering what I'm going to do there. Then I found two justifications. The one was that, though I'm not a Nobel Laureate from any of the science disciplines but when I was a child, I was very good in science subjects. When I was securing almost 100% marks in mathematics and science, my parents wanted to make me a professor, a scientist. Then they realized that it would be good to send him to engineering. So I did my engineering, I taught in the university for about a year and a half, so I have some idea about science, so I thought that I should go there. The second reason, I thought that every scientist who is going to speak here and the young friends who are sitting here, the young scientists, at one stage of your life each one of you were a child. And the sweetest and most valuable memories are our memories of childhood, memories of freedom, purity, quest for learning and so many other things. Since I have been working for children, for the last 35 years or so, I thought that it's good to connect with the memories of your childhood, and the childhood of millions of other children. I really felt overwhelmed in the midst of all sorts of knowledge, but more importantly, feeling much more empowered in presence of the moral authorities. You're not only scientists but you carry tremendous moral authority and power, dear laureates. And also to be with the young scientists, no other segment of life can match with your idealism, with your potential, your energy and your possibilities. So I am in the midst of the present laureates and possibly future laureates as well. Friends, think for a while that if out of, say, 700 people sitting here, 100 were not able to read and write. What would be the case, would they be here? This is the global scenario. Almost one out of seven people on our planet are unable to read and write. What has enabled all of us to come here to participate in this important event? It could be the organizers, it could be your quest for knowledge, your determination, your commitment to make the world a better world, but the most fundamental factor is education. If we were not educated, we were not here. If we were not educated, we could not dream to bring about changes in society and in the world. Education is power. It is the most powerful enabler and equalizer. It is the key to sustainability, it is key to equity, gender equity as well, social justice and development. It is the right which is the fundament to rest on the rights of life and society. They'd be no. But those who know the power of education, they have not been able to appropriately ensure education for all children and all people in the world. But those who, there's another segment of society who also understands the power of education and they are fundamentalist forces, they are terrorist forces. And these forces are threatening an education today. Only few months ago, you might have read, You have also heard that few months ago in a fine morning, when about 400 students were sitting in classrooms, in Peshawar, Pakistan suddenly the terrorists entered and killed 132 students, young children. I felt ashamed, I was in tears. While talking to a mother in Pakistan, she says, He was a little late so I scolded him to prepare early. Somehow he went to school, but I received him in a coffin." She further says that all his body was shot with guns or bullets but the books in his bag were still intact as well as the water bottle, there was no bullet. And she was cursing that why not her son was saved. Over a year has passed, we have no idea whether they are alive or dead. Whether they are sold to brothels, or what has happened to them, no idea. Few days ago, some of you might have seen a picture or read in the newspapers that the girls in Syria, young girls who were kidnapped from schools and houses, 6, 8, 8 year old girls were sold to sexual slavery for a price less than a cigarette pack. A 7 year old boy who could not hold a gun to kill opponents, the militant of ISIS buried him alive. These pictures that appeared, can we call ourselves civilized? Can we call ourselves cultured? Can we call ourselves developed? When these things are happening almost every day. These forces have understood the power of education and that's why they are trying to destroy it completely. They're creating fears in the minds of young people in those countries. That is a new phenomenon which has been growing in last few years. In Syria and Iran, Nigeria, different parts of the world. Think for a while whose children are they. You may easily that I'm a scientist, I am doing research in my own area. Think! I know that your researches will bring some good news and make the world a better world. But think for while whose children are they, what kind of world we are living in. They are all our children. They are all our children. If you don't think, if you don't consider all children are our children, then the world can never be a beautiful world for everyone. Dear friends, this is the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting, and almost at the same time 65, 66 years ago the International Community has mentioned education as a Fundamental Right in the Universal Declaration. It is one of the human rights. But what happened to this right? For 40 years, no attention has been paid. International Community has never sit and discussed how we are going to deliver a Fundamental Right to education for all. Only 1990 in Jomtien, when the first forum on education was convened, a big slogan came out, "Education for all by year 2000". But no substantiate in terms of budgetary allocations, in terms of monitoring, in terms of accountability, nothing. So in 2000, when the International Community was to assemble again in Dakar in Senegal, then the people like me and my friends raised one question. A very fundamental question that the number of out of school children has grown from 75 million to 130 million. What have we achieved? The negative progress. The number of illiterate people in the world grew from 750 million to 880 million. More children were excluded, more adults were excluded from education. Without health, protection, development, equality and so on, justice, everything has been denied. And they are the people who sleep hungry, most of them. They are the people whom we call the people living below the abject poverty. They are the people who don't have safe drinking water. They are the people who are suffering from all sorts of miseries and diseases. And we wake up quite late when something like Ebola happens, erupts. Again, in the year 2000, the world has made a commitment to educate all children by 2015 and halve the adult illiteracy by that time. So many other things, commitment, but fundamental commitment was that all children will complete their basic education, primary education. Some progress has been made definitely; civil society has been quite a strong during those 15 years. And the number of out of school children has been reduced by half or even more than by half. Now, 58 million children are out of school. But these 58 million children who are not in school, have never been to school, or 250 million children who could not go to secondary classes or almost the same number of children who could not learn read and write in their primary schooling. They are not simply numbers. Each figure has a face. Each figure has some eyes which are looking at you and me for answers. If we are not able to find the answers then who will? Can we simply depend on the politicians to find answers? Can we simply depend on the religious community, faith community to find the answers? If the intellectuals, the people who have the good heart are not able to find the answers, who will? Who are these children, where are they? These are figures but no clear identification has been made. And the number for last 3 or 4 years is not going down, it is stagnated because these children are hard to reach children. These children are living in emergency situations. You must be wearing clothes, you must be wearing shoes, you must be using for your footballs and other things produced by children like them. they are working in extremely appalling hazardous conditions in human conditions. And in the year 2015, when we were talking, of not only talking, we have already conquered Mars, I had these school children, I have freed one, two hundred thousands of children in my work. And when a child asked Then I had no answer. Why are the children sold for a 10% or 20% price of an animal? Are we really civilized? Big question comes to my mind. And that makes me angry, that makes me angry. Though you can see me as peace laureate, but I know that peace can never come without equity and justice, without education in the lives of all these children. Education is the biggest enabler for peaceful societies, and sustainable societies. As I said, these are not figures. I was in Ivory Coast recently talking to a child who was working in a cocoa farm, cocoa field. And you know cocoa is the code ingredient for chocolate. All of you might be enjoying chocolate, one time or another. You must be giving gifts to your friends and families, chocolate gifts. But when I asked to this 14-year-old or 15-year-old boy, how do you like chocolates? He asked, "What chocolate?" That's the sweet candy, I was trying to explain chocolate but he could not understand, because he has never seen or tasted chocolate. A child who is losing all his childhoods, I saw the scars on his hands and legs while producing cocoa beans in the field had never tasted chocolate. I asked, "Do you want to go to school if you are freed?" He smiled, he said, "It is too late." I was with my colleagues and we have freed the group of girls from the streets of Columbia. And this girl was working as domestic helper and then thrown on the street. And she was selling small things like flowers and so on. She was also about 15 years old. I asked, that now you are free, do you want to go to school? She said, "It is too late for me." She was a victim of multiple rapes and sexual abuse and she has no idea whose child was he. For her it is too late. I was in Pakistan and also sometimes in my country, India, and talking to some children who are stitching footballs and I saw when they were trying to stitch carefully, sometimes the needle goes inside their fingers, the blood comes out, they suck the blood, start working again. And the group of children when I asked, My dear children, what do you want to become in the future? They had no answer, they had no dream. I asked again and again, do you have any dream? They had no dream. What else could be a bigger sin than denial of dreams of these children? Education gives us dreams, and we have excluded these children from education. After a while this child said, one of them said, He has never played with that football. And right from the football companies, to the players, they are making millions, hundreds of millions of dollars. If we ignore comfortably, conveniently, if we keep on ignoring these hard facts of our society, then we cannot make a peaceful world. We have to address it now with the sense of emergency. Friends, so many children are denied education. They are excluded because of several reasons. As I said, millions of children are working as child labourers. We cannot reach to them and bring them back to school gates, school doors. Children who are suffering from HIV and AIDS, we are not able to address them properly. It is not their fault. No child has ever created war. No child has ever fought wars, not responsible for any kind of insurgency or war but they are the worst sufferers. We are not able to mainstream them in our lives, we cannot give them, we are not able to give them a respectful life and they are not in schools, many of them, most of them. These are the hardest to reach children. And that's why when we talk of education, we cannot simply ensure education without inclusion, without equity, and without quality. Of course, some children get the best quality education. Education has become a commodity. If some people can buy expensive education as expensive commodity, they can get good quality or even best quality education, even in poorer countries. But at the cost of other children who are left behind and that is creating an enormous amount of social tensions. This is resulting in irreparable loss of homogenous society building. This is resulting in big challenges for a sustainable society and this is happening. And many times these issues are clubbed with ecological emergencies or global warming issues, where the people are losing their traditional livelihoods, migrating, trafficed to cities and towns, some of them are a kind of a refugees in their own countries in search of livelihood and they are not treated well in big cities in towns and urban setups. So many problems are clubbed together. If we are able to ensure good quality education in their schools, in their villages, in their communities then many of such problems will never occur. Friends, it is possible. As I said, the number of out of school children has been reduced by half in the last 15 years. The number of child labourers has also been reduced from 260 million to 168 million, we have made progress. The infant mortality rate has become half in the last 15 years or so. So we can do it. But what is needed? Social concern and movement. The movement in society, I'm not talking about political movement. The movement inside each one of us, the movement in schools, colleges, universities, movement in the community for inclusive education for all children. And that requires much more spending on education. What is the scenario today? primary education but only 110 follow it. And also in those 110 countries, in most cases, there are some hidden costs involved in education. So school fees are free but uniform and some other things are needed, syllabus books. So it is not completely free for the poor children. We all know the power of education, the economic power of education. There is a Worldbank report recently released, that was a study conducted in 50 countries and it has proven that just basic education in a country can help in enhancing 0.33% of GDP each year. But if good quality education and secondary education is provided, then the GDP growth rate becomes 1% and onwards. Very direct economic gains. There's another study of ILO and UNESCO which reveals that one single year of primary education for a child helps 5 to 15% increase in earnings when the child becomes older. And each single year of secondary education will increase the earning 15 to 25% in the later stage of life. So education has a strong economic aspect which we cannot ignore. But what has happened between 2010 and '12? There was a 65% decrease in education funding. Most of the countries in the world are spending, developing countries I mean, spending 2 to 4% of the GDP in education, and these are big questions. It's not a big deal I tell you. Only 22 billion dollars can educate our children every year, 22 billion dollars. And what is this 22 billion dollars? This is 4.5 days of military expenditures. This is equivalent to what? Not equivalent actually, it is one-fifth of what the Americans spend in tobacco, or one-fourth of what Europeans spent on cosmetics, so 22 billion dollars is not a big deal. We can do it, if we have political will, if we have social momentum. If we have demand from the public and well-meaning people who care for the society and for the world. Friends, we need teachers but look at a country like Syria, the number of soldiers is 2.5 times more than the teachers. And the country like Eritrea, the number of soldiers is 25 times more than the teachers. So children are not our priority. Dear friends, we have to make our children our priority. We have to raise the voice of scientists, we have to raise the voice as social workers, as journalists, as politicians, as faith leaders. We have to stand up for our children if we want to make this world a better world. Friends, my time is over but I'll take another minute if you allow to sum up. I know you are hungry, you wanted to go for lunch and I am also hungry. As I said, if we are able to enhance budgetary allocations, if we are able to prioritize the situation of the hardest to reach children, if we have enough schools and quality teachers, we can bring about changes in the society through education, that is possible. I, you might be aware that three major things are going to happen in coming months. The most important is sustainable development goals, they are going to replace the Millennium Development Goals in September General Assembly. There are many interesting things, the sustainable development goals have much more clear and stronger language on equitable and inclusive education, thanks to International Community. But I have been campaigning and I also wanted to seek your support and urge to be the partner in that. That we keep on ingoring 5.5 million child slaves in the world. And their number is not reducing, their number is not coming down, that is stable for the last 15, 20 years according to the United Nations. But the people like me think that the number has been increasing. The independent studies proved that it is more than 8 million, it has grown from 5.5 million to 8 million. There is no mentioning of child slavery in the future development agenda. And we are demanding an explicit language for abolition of child slavery in the future development goals, sustainable development goals. The second thing which is going to take place next week, in fact, in Oslo and is the financing for education meeting. We must demand, which has been an agreed principle in Incheon last month, when the International Community gathered together for the new education agenda, the demand was that between 4 to 6% of GDP must be spent on education. Between 15 to 20% of all State Development Aids must be spent on education, that has been the agreed principle. And we are asking the International Community to adhere to this agreed principle and I seek your support for that also. And the third important thing which is taking place is the Financing for Development Summit in Addis Ababa next month. So in most of these high profile political deliberations and discussions, discourses, the children are largely ignored. We must be the voice of the children because they are all our children. Children are rising up, young people are rising up all across the world, they are opposing child marriages. That is a silver lining, that's a great achievement. Young people are rising up and asking for good quality education. They are rising up against injustices occurring in our society around us, they are fighting for justice and equality in society. So we have to listen to the voices of young people and many of you all, You can be the voices in your own discipline in science and other technologically disciplines, you can speak on behalf of children and that is not too difficult. Your fingers are always on your small devices and you are playing with them. And sometimes you are just busy your social media issues, maybe your girlfriend, or boyfriend, or your friends. You are good at that, I know, so why can't you sometimes use your mind, your heart, and your soul, and your fingers on your smart phones and computers to raise the voices on behalf of all these children. And laureates, some of you, I can see your faces here and I would urgently request you that if your moral voices, if your outreach, if your power could be harnessed for the cause of these children, then we will have a much more beautiful world for our children. And ours should be the last generation. Ours should be the last generation to say with pride that we have seen and we have made the end of child slavery and exclusion of children and illiteracy of children a history. So that in the future, our generations, the coming generations will learn only in the history books that there was an evil called illiteracy, there was an evil called child slavery and child trafficking and all those things. And I would come back to you. I'm not going to leave. My dear laureates, I request you to join the demand for more financing for education and inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all children in the world. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you.