In a globalised world, US workers face stiff competition from Indians and Chinese for jobs, President Barack Obama said on Monday.
The American president stressed on the need of furthering education past high school to prepare young Americans for such challenges.
"We live in a global economy, and when you graduate, you're no longer gonna be competing just with somebody here in D C for a great job," Obama said in his remarks on education at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in the American capital.
"You're competing with somebody on the other side of the world, in China or in India, because jobs can go wherever they want because of the internet and because of technology and the best jobs are gonna go to people who are the best educated, whether in India or China or anywhere in the world," Obama said.
Obama said when he took office almost eight years ago, he knew that the education system was falling short when it came to preparing young people for that reality.
"Our public schools had been the envy of the world, but the world caught up and we started getting outpaced when it came to math and science education," he said.
"African-American, Latino students, in part because of the legacy of discrimination, too often lagged behind our white classmates, something called the achievement gap that by one estimate costs us hundreds of billions of dollars a year," he added.
"We were behind other developed countries when it came to the number of young people who were getting a higher education. So I said when I first came in office, by 2020, I want us to be number one again. I want us to be number one across the board. So we got to work, making real changes to improve the chances for all of our young people, from the time they're born all the way through until they got a career," he said.
Because of the steps being taken by him, Obama said the good news is, real progress has been made. "I just want to talk to you about the progress we've madebecause you are the reason we've made progress, someoutstanding people all across the country," he added. "We recently learned that America's high school graduation rate went up to 83 per cent, which is the highest on record. That's good news.
More African-American and Latino students are graduating than ever before. Right here in DC, in just five years, the graduation -- the graduation rate in the District of Columbia public schools went from just 53 per cent to 69 per cent," Obama said.