Norway summit in 2015 to tackle stalled progress on global education

A summit will be held in Norway in early 2015 to bring together governments, donors and experts to tackle stalled progress on global education.

The Oslo Summit was announced in New York by Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, and the Norwegian government. Mr Brown said: “I met with Minister Borge Brende of Norway and we are announcing the education summit in Oslo in early 2015 focused on co-ordinating support for children out of school.

“Over 58 million children are out of school and millions more are not learning. Progress on education has stalled and aid is reducing.

“This summit hosted by the Norwegian government is a crucial step to tackling this challenge before the end of 2015. Every child has the right to go to school, without danger or discrimination”

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Norwegian State Secretary Hans Brattskar said: “We are going to organise an education summit early next year in Norway to advance better coordination and improve financing. We expect frank and open high-level discussions about the bottlenecks holding back progress. The summit will seek to improve the quality of learning, include a focus on girls' education, and look at how to provide education in conflict and humanitarian settings. “

Aid to basic education was cut by almost 10% between 2010 and 2012. Some countries have been subject to massive and rapid shifts in bilateral support. Burkina Faso, for example, lost five donors between 2006 and 2009  – 53% of its total aid to basic education.

An analysis by the Center for Universal Education at Brookings and the UNESCO Education For All Global Monitoring Report showed that the 41 countries in greatest need of education support found substantial variations in the amount of aid disbursed. Even countries with the best intentions and the best plans cannot build a sustainable education sector with this level of uncertainty.

In the current scenario:

  • Poor countries receive too little bilateral aid and what aid they do receive is uncoordinated
  • Multilateral aid is not enough to make up for the lack of bilateral aid
  • Financing that is multilaterally coordinated is not always available
  • Uncoordinated bilateral aid leads to highly fluctuations, unpredictable financing flows

At the Oslo Summit announcement, Mr Brown launched a three-point plan of action to reach Millennium Development Goal 2 called “Roadmap to 2015”.

His plan calls for:

  • Targeted coordination: to improve financing and delivery, it is essential that we coordinate bilateral aid, plan to fill gaps between and within countries and build on important coordination lessons learned.
  • Deadlines for delivery: hold countries accountable to develop a feasible plan and timetable for every child before the end of 2015
  • End to discrimination: targeting countries who are not doing enough to stop attacks on schools, end child marriage, discrimination against girls, labour and exploitation

Tove Wang, CEO of Save the Children Norway, said: “The message from the children in crisis situations is strong and clear – they want education.They are smart, they see that education can give them a better future and some meaning in a chaotic and violent environment. We better listen and act accordingly.”

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