Speech/statement | Date: 11/01/2018 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
By Former State Secretary Marianne Hagen (Oslo, 11 January)
State Secretary Marianne Hagen's statement at the Norwegian launch of The Global Education Monitoring Report 2017/18.
It is a great pleasure for me to be here for the launch of the Global Education Monitoring Report.
The title of this report points to a question that concerns us all: Who is accountable for providing quality education for all?
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)4 promises quality education for all children and youth by 2030. By committing to SDG4, the world community agrees that it is completely unacceptable that millions of children are deprived of an education. Not only is it very disturbing that so many children are out of school; it is also a serious problem that so many of those who are in school, are not getting the education they need to master basic skills.
The SDGs are based on the principle that no one should be left behind. With its strong focus on inclusion and equity, today's report emphasises that this should also be the guiding principle of our work. Unfortunately, we see that the poor and most marginalised parents and children are often unable to make their voices heard, to exercise their rights and to play an active part in society.
The Global Education Monitoring Report highlights the fact that it is the responsibility of national governments to provide quality education for all. However, countries that are lagging the farthest behind often do not have the resources they need to deliver education to all. Progress will require external support and cooperation both within countries and between national governments and external partners.
One of the main messages of the report is that accountability mechanisms should take the situation of schools and teachers into proper consideration. I fully agree. It is in the schools that learning takes place. Unfortunately, there are too many schools where students do not learn. As we know how important teachers are for learning, we need to increase the number of qualified and motivated teachers.
This is why Norway has been focusing particularly on teachers and quality of learning in our support for education. We have supported the International Teachers Task Force since it was created in 2008, and it is my hope that the teachers' initiative that Unesco is developing in cooperation with multilateral partners will strengthen the capacity of teachers.
It will be necessary to build consensus at the national level on what bottlenecks are holding back reform and what measures are needed to achieve progress. We strongly encourage including representatives from the teaching profession in a coordinated national effort.
Another crucial element is quality learning materials. We have been working closely with our colleagues in USaid to establish the Global Book Alliance, which will include a Global Digital Library. The purpose of this initiative is to make quality books and reading material more widely available to schools and pupils. In this context, material in children's mother tongues is a priority. The Global Education Monitoring Report complements and supports the findings of the World Bank report Learning to Realize Education's Promise and the Education Commission's The Learning Generation: Investing in education in a changing world.
Both individually and combined, these reports make a strong case for investing in education. They also remind us of the cost of non-action. They underline the urgency of immediate action if we are to achieve the Education Commission's vision of getting all young people into school, and learning the skills they need within a generation.
The Norwegian Government stands ready to contribute. When we came into power more than four years ago, we made education the top priority in Norway's development assistance, and promised that we would double our funding for education. In the period from 2013 to 2017, we delivered on this promise. We also continue our efforts to promote domestic resource mobilisation and donor funding to education.
Finally, I would like to congratulate you on the report and for the important work you are doing to strengthen accountability in education.