Global education a priority for Norway

Education is a human right for all children regardless of where in the world they live. This is set out in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite this, some 64 million children of primary school age and 61 million young people of lower secondary school age are still out of school. [1]

Education is vital to fighting poverty and ensuring sustainable development. Relevant, high-quality education is essential for increasing business development, employment rates and economic growth. Education is also crucial for health and gender equality.

Education is one of the top priorities of Norwegian development policy. The Government’s aim is that Norway should participate in a concerted international effort to ensure quality education for all, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In the 2019 aid budget, the Government has allocated NOK 3.7 billion to global education.

On 13 June 2014, the Government launched the white paper Education for Development. This sets out the three main objectives for Norway’s global education effort, which are to help to ensure that:

  1. all children have the same opportunities to start and complete school;
  2. all children and young people learn basic skills and are equipped to tackle adult life;
  3. as many children and young people as possible develop skills that enable them to find gainful employment, and that improve the prospects of economic growth and sustainable development in the broadest sense.

Financing for education, girls’ education, education in situations of crisis and conflict, vocational training, learning outcomes and quality of education are all key priority areas. In line with the core principle of the Sustainable Development Goals to ‘leave no one behind’, Norway maintains a particular focus on marginalised groups, such as children with disabilities. Emphasis is being placed on innovation and digitalisation, with a view to achieving the best possible results in the priority areas. In line with the 2030 Agenda, Norway is taking a cross-sectoral approach, and the links between health and education are particularly important.  

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) are the two most important channels for Norwegian aid for education, and in 2017, these two organisations received a total of NOK 1.4 billion from Norway. In 2017, nearly a third of all Norwegian  aid for education was provided to civil society organisations.  

[1] Global Education Monitoring Report 2019 – Migration, displacement and education