"We have already taken some steps that are building the foundation for a 21st century education system here in America, one that will allow us to compete with China and India and everybody else all around the world," Obama told a cheering crowd in Warren Michigan where he announced the American Graduation Initiative.
After entering the White House and even during his election campaign last year, Obama has been urging American parents to gear up and focus on studies of their kids as students from countries like China and India are marching ahead.
"At the start of my administration I set a goal for America: By 2020, this nation will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. We used to have that. We're going to have it again," Obama said amidst applause from the audience.
Announcing the American Graduation Initiative, which is aimed at reaching the goal of having the highest college graduation rate in the world, he said, "We are going to achieve this in the next 10 years."
"It will reform and strengthen community colleges like this one from coast to coast so they get the resources that students and schools need -- and the results workers and businesses demand. Through this plan, we seek to help an additional five million Americans earn degrees and certificates in the next decade," Obama said.
Under the new initiative the emphasis would be on community colleges, which train youths with necessary skills that would fetch them jobs.
"Many young people are saving money by spending two years at community college before heading to a four-year college. And more workers who have lost their jobs -- or fear losing a job -- are seeking an edge at schools like this one," he said.