Mumbai kids are tough competition: Obama

Seeing it as signs of emerging of new world, US President Barack Obama has warned American students to strive hard.

Updated: May 17, 2011, 18:18 PM IST

Washington: Seeing it as signs of
emerging of new world, US President Barack Obama has warned
American students to strive hard to stay ahead as they face
tough competition from youngsters in India and China.

"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.

PTI