On 6 October, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende, announced the government’s proposal to allocate a record NOK3.4 billion (approx. €375 million) to education aid in 2017.
This will double its support to global education made since 2013, when NOK1.7 billion (approx. €188 million) was allocated to education aid. This increased steadily since, and amounted to NOK2.85 billion (€314.5 million) in 2016.
Global education crisis
The Minister highlighted how 263 million children and young people do not go to school worldwide because of conflict or poverty. “The world is on the brink of a global education crisis,” he said. “We cannot afford to let this happen.”
Brende explained that while Norway and other donors can provide funding and expertise, the authorities in developing countries must also increase education sector financing. “They must put an end to corruption, and make it easier for girls to complete upper secondary and higher education.”
UEN: Constructive dialogue
The Union of Education Norway (UEN) has expressed its support with the Norwegian government’s proposal.
Acknowledging that Norway’s public authorities are delivering on their promise to push education higher up on the global agenda, UEN President Steffen Handal also welcomed the fact that trade unionists “are invited to provide their views on their education initiative and have established a constructive dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.
Education is a public good and a public responsibility, he said. “To build sustainable education systems, we also need to strengthen national institutions for the collection of taxes, build teachers training institutes, and involve the teaching profession,” Handal added.