IN the next 15 years, the world's population of 15- to 24-year-olds will increase by nearly 100 million. Most of these young people will be in Asia and Africa. They will be the parents who raise tomorrow's children, the workers who keep the global economy going, the leaders who determine what kind of world we live in.
Today, they are children. They urgently need the quality education to which they have a right – and the world urgently needs every one of them to get it.
On average, each additional year of education a child receives increases future earnings by about 10 per cent. Each additional year a country manages to keep its children in school can reduce that country's poverty rate by 9 per cent. Poorer countries see the highest returns.
Learning makes a real difference, too: If all children born in lower-middle-income countries today learned basic reading and math, their countries' GDPs could increase thirteen-fold over their lifetimes. Making sure that all children can acquire these skills would also create the conditions for more equitable patterns of growth, while increasing the size of the economy and reducing poverty.
If every child has the opportunity to enter adulthood with the skills needed to build a secure livelihood and participate fully in society, the effects could transform societies and economies.