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Obama warns of 'education arms race' with India, China

US President Barack Obama has warned of an "education arms race" with India and China and said that any cut in the education budget as recommended by the Republicans would be detrimental to America's national interest.

world Updated: Oct 14, 2010 11:35 IST

US President Barack Obama has warned of an "education arms race" with India and China and said that any cut in the education budget as recommended by the Republicans would be detrimental to America's national interest.

"Nothing would be more shortsighted," Obama said in his Rose Garden at White House, in remarks to the press in reference to the Republican proposal to cut education budget.

"There's an educational arms race taking place around the world right now –- from China to Germany, to India to South Korea. Cutting back on education would amount to unilateral disarmament. We can't afford to do that," he said.

The President said that the nation that educates its children the best would be the nation that leads the global economy in the 21st century "Now, ultimately, this is not just about making our economy more competitive.

It's not just about preparing our kids for the jobs of the future –- though all those things are absolutely essential. It's also about who we are as a people," he said.

"It's about building a brighter future where every child in this country has a chance to rise above any barriers of race or faith or station, and they can fulfil their God-given potential; where the American Dream is a living reality.

By opening the doors of college to anyone who wants to go, that's a future we can help build together," he added. Obama said if the Republicans in Congress had their way that would be more difficult.

"They've proposed cutting back on education by 20 per cent. That means reducing financial aid for eight million students and leaving our community colleges without the resources they need to prepare our students for the jobs of the future," he argued.

The President said at a time when the unemployment rate of those who've never gone to college has almost doubled, "what it is for those who have gone to college, when most of the new jobs being created will require some higher education, when countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow, offering our children a world-class education isn't just a moral obligation, it's an economic imperative."

He said since the start of his administration, they been doing everything they can to make that kind of education possible, from the cradle to the classroom, from college through a career.

"We're reforming Head Start and challenging weak programs to compete for funds -– because if you're receiving tax dollars you should be delivering results for our kids.

We're launching a Race to the Top in our states, which is raising standards and promoting excellence in teaching –- so our students, all of them, can graduate ready for college and a career," he argued.