Oslo Education Summit: roundup of all the news, views and pictures

Children in conflicts, Education funding, Education in emergencies, Girls' education, Teachers and learning

The venue: Norway’s capital Oslo. The dates: July 6 and 7, 2015. The guests: heads of government, education ministers and international organisations.

The goal: political commitment to help the world’s 58 million out-of-school children and to achieve better learning outcomes for those who are in education.

Its official title is the Oslo Summit for Education in Development. It aims to help reverse the negative trend in support for education as we approach the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set by the United Nations in 2000, and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the next set of 15-year objectives to help the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged people.

This gathering of some of the biggest players in global education is being billed as a major opportunity to resolve two of the biggest problems:

  1. Progress on reducing the number of children out of school has stalled
  2. Basic aid to education is declining – in 2014 it received only 1% of the overall humanitarian aid

Here we’ll be bringing you the latest news, views, pictures, videos and social media shares in the build-up to and during the Oslo Summit. So keep coming back to find out what’s happening and who’s saying what.


The summit will concentrate on these key issues:

  • Increased investment in education so that every child is in school and learning
  • Increased support for girls’ education with a particular focus on the links between health and education
  • Increased support for education in emergencies, such as humanitarian and post-crisis situations, with a particular focus on marginalised groups
  • Quality learning – increased and targeted support for more and better qualified teachers, improved learning materials, use of innovation and technology, and skills tailored for labour market demands

May 19: campaigning stepped up

We talk to Norwegian campaigners in the run-up to two major events in Oslo and ask what they hope will be the outcomes. Find out what they said.

Norwegian children #UpForSchool at 2014 Nobel Peace Prize event

June 2: countries sign Safe Schools Declaration

In the lead-up to the summit, another high-profile meeting is hosted by the Norwegian government – the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools. There, 37 countries sign the Safe Schools declaration, which commits them to protect education from attack. Find out which countries signed and what it means.

June 23: a four-point plan

The UK-based think tank Overseas Development Institute was asked by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is hosting the summit, to prepare a background paper – which it publishes today.

The ODi warns that millions of children are missing out on school, dropping out or receiving poor-quality education because of wars and conflicts, natural disasters including earthquakes and floods, and public health emergencies such as Ebola. It comes up with four recommendations to tackle the issues – find out what they are.

On the same day, the UN children’s agency UNICEF publishes its final report card on the child-related MDG set 15 years ago. Executive Director Anthony Lake says: “The MDGs helped the world realise tremendous progress for children – but they also showed us how many children we are leaving behind.” Read more about the report and its findings.

June 24: what numbers don’t say

Kolleen Bouchane, Policy and Advocacy Director for A World at School, writes a blog which asks if the numbers surrounding global education campaigning are telling the full story. Read it here.

June 28: Gordon Brown on education finance

The UN Special Envoy for Global Education writes an article for Project Syndicate – a series by world figures – titled “New ways to finance education.” In it, he sets the scene for the Oslo summit and writes about the lack of funding for education in emergencies. He says: “To close the gap, we need a new approach, one that takes advantage of new sources of funding – such as the private sector, philanthropic organisations and emerging economies – while ensuring that the money received is used as efficiently as possible.” Read the full article.

June 29: Education plight of girls in conflict countries

Adolescent girls living in conflict-hit countries are 90% more likely not to be in secondary school than those elsewhere. That’s just one of the grim findings in a report released today by Education For All Global Monitoring Report. It looks at why humanitarian aid specifically for education matters and why more of it is needed. Learn more here.

July 1: Campaigning in Lebanon

A World at School has launched a new Global Youth Ambassadors scheme in Lebanon, where almost of the 1.2 million Syrian refugees are out-of-school children. Project Manager Georgina Mortimer writes a blog today about the launch and the need for safe spaces for vulnerable children affected by conflicts. Read it here.

July 1: Your guide to funding Education in Emergencies

A World at School has produced a policy briefing on “The consequences of not investing in Education in Emergencies”. Everything you need to know on the subject – explained clearly and concisely. Read it here.

July 1: Pakistan PM Muhammam Nawaz Sharif writes…

Pakistan Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif writes an article for Project Syndicate titled “Schooling and social change in Pakistan”. In it he reiterates that Pakistan will not allow schools to become targets for terrorism and adds: “If we fail to meet our commitment to universal education, millions of children would be relegated to a life of poverty and struggle, with their hopes, dreams, and potential squandered, undermining the country’s development potential.”

July 2: Global charities call for urgent fund

More than 30 of the world’s leading charities and campaign organisations join forces to call on world leaders to create an urgent fund to provide education for children affected by wars and natural disasters. Led by A World at School, the NGOs have signed a statement ahead of the Oslo summit. Find out more.

July 2: How to make schools safer

Gordon Brown writes an article for World Economic Forum titled “How can we make schools safer?” He mentions the Safe Schools Initiative which has had successes in Nigeria and Pakistan and adds: “So much can be achieved, and quickly and key lessons can be learned from the Safe Schools Initiative, particularly on teamwork and a collective will to muck in and get things done.”

July 2: Youth marchers in mural

A World at School youth rally mural at Oslo education summit

A World At School will unveil a specially commissioned mural at the Oslo summit. The pastel on canvas artwork of a youth march was conceived as a way to visually represent to the world leaders, policymakers and heads of finance attending the summit that young people are demanding their right to education. Full story here.

July 2: GPE chief Julia Gillard writes…

The board chair of the Global Partnership for Education writes for the Project Syndicate series. Her article titled “Lessons for Oslo” says that GPE has been making a real difference then adds: “But I remain haunted by the knowledge that, if we are to move beyond business as usual and slash those hundred-year timelines to meet the 15-year time horizon of the SDGs, we must do much more.”

July 3: Graca Machel on how to help girls

The founder of the Graca Machel Trust writes an article for Huffington Post titled “Here’s how we can help educate and empower millions of marginalised girls worldwide”. In it she says: “We have failed to do enough to address the injustices that have marginalised millions of girls in some of the most troubled areas of the globe.”

July 3: UNESCO head Irina Bokova writes…

The Director-General of the United Nations agency pens an article for the Project Syndicate series titled “Achieving education for all”. She says educational initiiatives must leave no behild, adding: “Education has its share of champions, but it needs more of them, from all segments of society.”

July 3: UNICEF chief Anthony Lake writes…

In another article for Project Syndicate titled “Education in Emergencies, the Director-General of the UN children’s agency says financing remains “outrageously low”. He says a basic truth must be accepted – that “learning is not only a critical element of relief for every child in an emergency, but also a crucial investment in the future development of their societies”.

July 6: Out-of-school numbers rise but aid remains low

The world’s out-of-school population has grown to 124 million – with 59 million primary-age children and 65 million adolescents not getting an education. The new figures are revealed today and show that new targets to get all children into school will not be reached unless international aid to education is increased drastically. Read the full story.

July 6: Gordon Brown demands Education in Emergencies fund

The UN Special Envoy for Global Education tells the Oslo summit a multi-million dollar humanitarian fund for education in emergencies is needed urgently. He says: “A humanitarian fund for education would have allowed us to help Syrian refugees and those caught up in the Nepal earthquake emergency without having to spend months sending the begging bowl around the international community which is what happens now.” Full story is here.

July 6: A World at School mural unveiled

You’ve seen it in progress, from the picture earlier in this article. Now see the mural in all its glory.

July 7: Our GYA Hellen’s passionate plea

One of A World at School’s network of 500 Global Youth Ambassadors in 85 countries, Hellen Griberg told world leaders, education ministers and leading NGOs that education gives young people a purpose. Read the full story.

July 7: #UpForSchool Petition hits 8m signatures

After her speech, Hellen met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg to pass on the messages from people around the world who have signed the #UpForSchool Petition. More than one million signatures were added in the past week after Angry Birds released a new #UpForSchool tournament to support the campaign and global star Justin Bieber became the latest celebrity to sign and asked his fans to do the same. Read about it here.

July 7: Action on education in emergencies and funding announced

A commitment is made to reverse the decline in support to education around the world – with announcements on an education in emergencies aid platform and a commission to explore the cae for investment in education. Full story here.

Sign the #UpForSchool Petition

A World at School believes a Global Humanitarian Fund for Education in Emergencies is needed to protect the most vulnerable children and get them back in school. Help us send a message to leaders at the Oslo Summit and beyond by signing the #UpForSchool Petition.


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