Be ready to compete with kids in Beijing and Mumbai: Obama
"You`re competing against young people in Beijing and Mumbai. That`s some tough competition. Those kids are hungry.
They`re working hard. And you`ll need to be prepared for it," Obama said in his remarks to students at Memphis, Tennessee.
"We live in a new world now. Used to be that you didn`t have to have an education. If you were willing to work hard, you could go to a factory somewhere and get a job. Those times are passed. Believe it or not, when you go out there looking for a job, you`re not just competing against people in Nashville or Atlanta," he said.
"And as a country, we need all of our young people to be ready. We can`t just have some young people successful.
We`ve got to have every young person contributing; earning those high school diplomas and then earning those college diplomas, or getting certified in a trade or profession. We can`t succeed without it," he said in his speech.
Through education, he said, one can also better oneself in other ways.
"You learn how to think critically and find solutions to unexpected challenges. I remember we used to ask our teachers, `Why am I going to need algebra?` Well, you may not have to solve for x to get a good job or to be a good parent.
But you will need to think through tough problems. You`ll need to think on your feet. You`ll need to know how to gather facts and evaluate information. So, math teachers, you can tell your students that the President says they need algebra," he said amidst laughter.
Education, Obama said, also teaches the value of discipline — that the greatest rewards come not from instant gratification but from sustained effort and from hard work.
"This is a lesson that`s especially true today, in a culture that prizes flash over substance, that tells us that the goal in life is to be entertained, that says you can be famous just for being famous. You get on a reality show — don`t know what you`ve done — suddenly you`re famous. But that`s not going to lead to lasting, sustained achievement," he said.
"Finally with the right education, both at home and at school, you can learn how to be a better human being. For when you read a great story or you learn about an important moment in history, it helps you imagine what it would be like to walk in somebody else`s shoes, to know their struggles. The success of our economy will depend on your skills, but the success of our community will depend on your ability to follow the Golden Rule — to treat others as you would like to be treated," Obama said.