Recently, a summit was held in Oslo Norway from 6-7 July 2015 to bring together governments, donors and experts to tackle stalled progress on global education. Building on the outcomes of the World Education Forum in South Korea last May, the aim of education summit is to promote a global education effort to reach the new UN development goal and mobilize more concrete resources and support.
Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, had stated that the education summit Oslo would focus on coordinating support for children out of school. “Over 58 million children are out of school and millions more are not learning. Progress on education has stalled and aid is reducing. This summit hosted by the Norwegian government is a crucial step to tackling this challenge before the end of 2015. Every child has the right to go to school, without danger or discrimination”.
Education has been especially important to children living in the midst of conflict or natural disasters such as those in Syria and Iraq – as it provides the concentration and coordination needed for people to realize the importance of education in emergencies.
During an Education in Emergencies Summit in Oslo, the international community had promised to help Lebanon with around $150 million to help manage education for Syrian refugees. Lebanon Education Minister Elias Bou Saab spoke about his ministry’s Reaching All Children with Education (RACE) plan and received positive feedback with participating countries and organizations. This definitely came about at the right time as the most recent data showed that before the conflict, “nearly every child was enrolled in primary school but by 2013 nearly two million children and adolescents were out of school. It took just two years of civil war to erase all education progress made since the start of the century”, according to Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
Furthermore, the impact of insufficient support for education in emergencies is especially heavy on young girls. “For any sort of education program, you have to really look at it from a gender lens, seeing where the barriers are,” says Rashid Javed, Country Director for Plan International Pakistan. “Equality looks at the roles and responsibilities of government, ensuring they have the right laws and policies in place, which look at the hurdles that girls face”.
Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel laureate spoke at the Oslo Summit on the importance of ensuring free, quality primary and secondary education for every child throughout the world. “World leaders need to think of the rest of the world’s children as their own children”. The Malala Fund, a nonprofit founded by Yousafzai and her father to empower girls through education, released a paper titled Beyond Basics: Making 12 Years of Education a Reality for Girls Globally, to coincide with the summit. She provided detailed recommendations from the paper and ended her speech that her message today to the leaders, “Be a child for a moment, dream with no limit, and dream bigger, this is the only you can achieve bigger”.
There is a growing need to recognize how great the educational needs are by gaining a more sophisticated understanding of how the development agenda relies on education, and to ensure a growing capability to respond. It is great that throughout the summit, it was noted that good teachers are essential to improve schools and learning outputs and that includes special education. We have to recognize that education should not place emphasis on outcomes that we often do today, instead we should value the process of learning, the work methods and values that children develop. By sharing experiences and knowledge of what works and what more could be achieved, we all have a profound responsibility to work together to give the children the opportunities that they deserve.
As Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif had undoubtedly stated, “education of the youth is the only way forward for socio-economic progress of our future generation, and that eradicating is essential for promoting peace, tolerance and harmony in any society”.
"Hi, I'm Rev, 24 years old and a Master's student at Murdoch University, Western Australia. My hobbies include writing and baking of all sorts! Education has always played an important role in my life and B.O.B works towards that same goal of raising awareness and funds for the education of children in refugee camps. You get to work alongside selfless people that share the same perspective.