Major New Education Initiatives Announced at Oslo Summit

Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway is #UpForSchool with A World at School Global Youth Ambassador Hellen Griberg

Leaders commit to action on education in emergencies and launch new international commission to reverse decline in funding for education.

World leaders meeting at the Education For Development Summit hosted by the Norwegian Government have committed to urgent action to reverse the decline in support to education around the world.  New figures released at the start of the Summit showed that the number of children out of school has gone up while aid to education has dropped.

Data published by UNESCO showed that globally one in eleven children is out of school, totaling 59 million children in 2013, a growth of 2.4 million since 2010. International aid to education has dropped to below 2010 levels and is grossly insufficient to meet education targets to achieve universal primary and secondary education.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende made the announcement in his concluding remarks at the Oslo Summit and committed to double Norwegian funding for education.  Minister Brende said, “What is holding back progress is first and foremost a lack of commitment. The Oslo Summit has helped mobilise this commitment.”

The Oslo Declaration includes the following announcements:

  • The launch of a high-level International Commission on the Financing of Global Education Opportunities to explore and invigorate the case for investment in education and reverse the recent declines in funding.
  • An agreement to set up a common platform to improve how aid is provided in emergencies and urgently address the gap in funding of education in emergencies.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Global Youth Ambassador Hellen Griberg

Angry Birds’ Peter Vesterbacka and Global Youth Ambassador Hellen Griberg with the #UpForSchoo mural

Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, supported the announcement noting that in emergencies, “While we do something about shelter, food and healthcare, we are doing almost nothing about education. There is agreement now that we must go ahead at speed. There will be a meeting at the United Nations in September to finalise plans. This couldn’t have happened without Norwegian leadership.”

Ben Hewitt, A World at School’s Director of Campaigns said, “Eight million people have signed the #UpForSchool petition calling on leaders to take urgent action to get every child into school. These demands were shared with world leaders in Oslo. They heard our outrage that last year only 1% of all humanitarian aid went to education leaving millions of children out of school due to wars and natural disasters. Today in Oslo these leaders have publicly backed our call for action on funding for education in emergencies and further announced an important new international commission to reverse the wider funding crisis in global education.

This is a crucial first step, the result of increased momentum over the past couple of months thanks to campaigners all around the world and the leadership of the Norwegian Government. The hard work starts now to turn these commitments into increased resources and increased access to education. We must now build the campaign in the run to the UN General Assembly in September and continue to remind world leaders that we are watching and they must deliver.

The Summit has been held by the Norwegian Government to mobilise strong and renewed political commitment to reach the 59 million children who are still being denied their right to education, and to improve learning outcomes for those who attend school.

The Summit has been initiated to help reverse the negative trend in international support for education and to contribute to enhanced domestic resource mobilisation, approach the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals and the adoption of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.