Investing in education is essential to developing a skilled workforce for the future and improving economic growth. Although the number of children in the world has grown, the number in primary schools has not changed. Even those who do attend school don’t always learn to read and write. Discrimination still keeps some children and adults from quality learning opportunities. This occurs despite international affirmation of the right to education.
Constrained educational resources and poverty often limit access to education. Additionally, the skills students learn in school don’t always match up with workplace needs. This contributes to unemployment and deprives businesses of the talent they need and that will drive broader economic growth.
Business leaders around the world have recognized education as one of the most urgent sustainability challenges. However, business investments in education have often been small, short-term, uncoordinated and unequally distributed. Increasing smart investment in education over the longer term is needed.
Investment in education expands business opportunities, creating new markets and customer bases. It also results in a more skilled workforce, increasing productivity and driving business growth. A more educated workforce leads to better wages and more disposable income for consumer spending.
The UN Global Compact has joined with a number of partners to advance education around the world. Together with UNESCO, UNICEF and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, we have created a framework to help businesses advance education goals. Companies have invested in institutions and outreach programmes, as well as job training and apprenticeships.