“Educating fifty million illiterate children with digital education would cost four million euros. This is the same cost of ten war tanks”. More than 60 years have passed since Raul Follereau, the apostle of the lepers, asked for two bombers from the US and the URSS to heal the lepers of the entire world. From Assisi, César Alierta, former president of Telefonica, speaks on behalf of Profuturo foundation. He goes back to fostering a view of the world starting from the smallest and the last, convinced that the first step to filling the gap of inequalities is education.
During the meeting of inter-religious dialogue Thirst for Peace, organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio in collaboration with the Diocese and the Franciscan families, César Alierta – who talked yesterday at the Inaugural Conference – has spoken today at a Pane on “Economy and Inequalities”. He introduced the initiatives of the Spanish foundation Profuturo – sponsored by Telefonica and “la Caixa” foundation – that fosters digital education and that has already helped over two million children and teens in Latin America and Africa.
“In the 90s”, he explained, “we entered a new era, that of the digital revolution, which will produce more development than the industrial era”. Comparing these new opportunities against the inequalities in many areas of the world, César Alierta explained that if a boy or a girl would have the possibility to study for at least one year, he/she will be able to benefit from 10% more opportunities. “Around 47% of children in subsaharian Africa will drop out of school before finishing primary education and the percentage of girls is double the one of boys.
Even in Europe the percentage of unemployed young people between 17 and 24 years of age is increasing significantly. At the same time, in Spain, there are 200 thousand people with digital competencies: I estimate that in the next 3 years, 65% of children will find a job in careers that nowadays do not exist. For this reason we have to get new foundation programmes going: to give to Malawian young people the same opportunities that a boy or a girl from Berlin or New York have”.