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How many of you are from countries that have poor regions and slums? How many of you pass by or visit these poor areas and slums? Have you ever thought why? Ladies and gentlemen, the main reason poverty is embedded in the lives of these people is due to illiteracy and lack of education.In India, a country with a population of over 1.3 billion people, less than half of the children between the age 6 and 14 go to school. All of this despite the basic schooling in the country being be free. In a survey that was conducted in 2002 students said that due to the high cost of private education and the need to work and support their families and little interest in studies are the reasons given by 3 in every 5 drop-outs as the reason they leave. This number has most probably increased. Now a lot of you might be wondering as to why you would need to spend on private education when there is free public education on offer. Well, the answer to that is the “free education” is of such poor quality that it doesn’t do anyone any actual benefit, and the main reason for this poor quality of education is because, on an average, there are less than three teachers per primary school. They have to manage grades from 1 to 5 every day. In addition, most people in rural India have an extremely retrogressive attitude when it comes to education, they don’t see the importance and long-term benefit of education and hence do not send their children to school. Even if they somehow manage to send their children to schools they will only send their sons to school. They don’t send their daughters to school because they believe that girls don’t need to be educated and their primary purpose is to run the house and also the fact that schools don’t have or provide proper sanitary facilities for girls. Educating girls is like sowing a seed which gives rise to a green, cheerful and full grown family plant. What I mean by this metaphor is that female education is vital for the development of a country mainly because women are involved in all sorts of activities both at a regional level and at the community level such as childbearing and household chores. Hence it is very important to provide quality education to women to help them contribute to the development of the nation in a meaningful way. As Queen Rania of Jordan once said, “If you educate a woman, you educate a family, if you educate a girl, you educate the future.”  A main factor in the retrogressive behavior in the rural population is the lack of facilities for education in rural India. Most rural areas do not have schools and if there is one it is located far away. The long distances discourage parents from sending their children to school because they have to walk on foot to the schools. Another major issue is the poor pay for teachers and workers in public schools. The poor pay doesn’t motivate teachers and they often choose to give up teaching and start giving private tuitions for more money. Now some of you might say, “Why do we need to give money to a country which is known for its corruption scandals? Why don’t we get to see some tangible evidence of where the money is being used?” and to those UN officials I say have you ever been given tangible evidence of how your money was used. Whether it is Africa or Greece you, the UN, have never received nor asked for any accountability nor tangible results of how the funds were utilized, so why ask now? When people in Africa were homeless and starving you immediately sent funds and didn’t bother to see the effects of the money you spent. That is because there were no effects, the money which you spent in Africa has not reached the public due to the corruption. However, you continued to support and send money to Africa with hope, hope that it might reach the people that need it, that the money can feed a homeless, starving family. All I ask is let the Indian public also have that hope, that the UN despite India’s pathetic image of being one of the most corrupt countries on the world, will still decide to invest time and money to help the government and the people of India develop this country into a great nation through the power of knowledge and education.Education in India is in absolute shambles but over the next few decades with the help of the UN, we will hopefully be able to improve this sector and help the country grow and develop into one of the leading countries in Asia and the world.  Thank you for your time ladies and gentlemen.

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