Dubai, 15 March 2015

President Kagame today attended the Global Education and Skills Forum held in Dubai. The forum brought together over 1,000 leaders for a two day discussion on the future of education and the importance of public-private partnerships.

Speaking on a panel on the sustainability of the progress the education sector alongside former Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Kagame defined education as essential for dignity:

“Education is about dignity. Even if you have a problem today, eventually you should be able to stand on your own two feet. There is no dignity in perpetual dependency until the end of your life.”

“We need to integrate in our education system that we are here to empower ourselves to achieve certain things that many parts of the world has taken for granted. It is not just about skills and earning a salary. It is about improving your well being and the well being of others,” President Kagame added.

Addressing the future of the MDGs and the efficiency of aid, President Kagame called for increased investment on local ownership:

“Money is necessary but is not the only problem. It is how your bring the money to work and how innovatively.”

“The political nature of aid is to be drawn to emergency and crisis. But if we look at the medium and long term of addressing these problems, helping to invest in building capacity on the ground and empower people on the ground and their systems of governance is more sustainable. If you use aid to build local capacity, it helps and it works,” President Kagame added.

President Kagame ended the day with a keynote speech at the award ceremony for the Global Teacher Prize where he shared part of his educational journey:

“Like many other Rwandans, my first experience of school was as a refugee student. Conditions were difficult, but our teachers went far beyond the call of duty, to ensure that displaced children acquired education. Whether there was a building or not, whether we had books or not, whether teachers were paid or not, they kept teaching, and we kept learning.”

The $1 million Global Teacher Prize was awarded to Nancy Atwell from the United States. The ten finalists this year represented Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Kenya, USA, Cambodia, Malaysia and the UK.