Learning to Realize Education’s Promise

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide's address at the presentation of World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education’s Promise.

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I am pleased to be here today and to have the opportunity to discuss an extremely important topic.

I come directly from the meeting of the Nordic Council in Helsinki where one of my first tasks as Minister of Foreign Affairs was to discuss development issues with my Nordic colleagues.

Education is essential for sustainable development.

Education is a human right that every child is entitled to.

We have made progress. Compared to just a few years ago, more children and young people now go to school.

However, as the first World Development Report devoted entirely to education shows, going to school does not guarantee learning.

Many countries have made great progress in their efforts getting children to school. Now it's time to sure they learn when they are there.

We have a long way to go before we can give every child a high-quality education.

Quality education for all gives every single child, their family and their community a chance for a better future.

I welcome the World Bank's report and its commitment to finding global solutions.

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While more children and young people are going to school than ever before, SDG 4 on education is still a distant dream for millions.

263 million children are not in school. 61 million children are not even receiving primary education.

Of these, 32 million are girls.

In some countries, the number of children not receiving primary education is overwhelming: in Nigeria the number is 8.7 million, in Pakistan 5.6 million, and in Ethiopia 2.2 million.

As the report shows, six out of ten children and young people worldwide are not learning the basic skills of literacy and numeracy – despite actually going to school.

We need to take a two-track approach:

First, we must continue our concerted international effort to give all children an education.

Second, we must improve the quality of teaching and learning.

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Norway's priorities are directly linked to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

Norway has doubled our support to education from 1.7 billion in 2013 to 3.4 billion this year.

This includes a 150 % increase in the funding provided for education in emergencies since 2013.

We put special emphasis on education for girls. By giving girls an education, we give them the power to shape their own lives.

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In line with the recommendations in the World Development Report 2018, improving learning outcomes and the quality of education are priorities for the Norwegian Government.

Let me give you some examples:

- Professionally trained and motivated teachers are crucial for ensuring effective learning. At the Oslo Summit on Education for Development in July 2015, Prime Minister Solberg announced a new initiative for teachers. As a result, seven international organisations will work together to support teachers and review teaching policies in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Malawi.

- Teachers and students must have access to knowledge. Under the umbrella of the Global Book Alliance, Norway has taken the initiative to develop a global digital library that will be launched in 2018. We hope that by 2020 over 50 000 titles in 100 different languages will be available to students and teachers all over the world.

- Innovation is key to improving learning conditions. Through the financing mechanism 'Vision 2030' Norway has committed close to NOK 150 million over three years to the development of innovative approaches to teaching – and learning.

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Quality education for all depends on continued international financing.

As underlined by the International Education Commission, national resource mobilisation and ownership are key.

However, national governments need international support and funding in order to improve their schools and education systems.

Norway strongly advocates continued funding of the Global Partnership for Education. We also took part in the work to establish the Education Cannot Wait fund to bridge the gap between humanitarian aid and long-term development assistance.

We urge donors to support the establishment of a new international finance facility for education (IFFEd) linked to the multilateral development banks.

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Education is not only key to sustainable development and economic growth in developing countries.

It gives all children, girls and boys, the opportunity to shape their own future.

Only then can they shape our common future.

Thank you.