Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende recently went on a joint visit to schools in South Africa, Malawi and Rwanda. Solberg co-chairs the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group, which aims to mobilise global action in achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the end of 2015.
Reaching the last 10%
The Norwegian government recently presented concrete proposals as to what Norway can do to reach the more than 10 % of children worldwide who do not have access to primary education. These are primarily children living in extreme poverty or in conflict-affected areas, and in particular those with disabilities or those who are subject to discrimination.
Investing in girls
Particular emphasis is placed on ensuring the right to education for girls.
– Girls’ lack of education is one of the greatest barriers to development. Girls who complete their education are better able to take care of themselves and their families. An education helps to ensure that fewer girls get married and have children too early, and that they are better equipped to fight for their rights and avoid abuse, Mr. Brende says.
– Ticket out of poverty
Education is a prioritised sector for Norway’s development cooperation with Nepal. The country has made rapid progress towards the goal to enrol all children in school. Today, some 95% of all children are enrolled in primary school. Enrolment numbers at other levels, from pre-primary to class 12, are also showing positive trends, including near gender parity at all levels.
– Ensuring that all children receive a good basic education is not just about teaching them to read and write. Education is a ticket out of poverty. No one needs this more than children growing up in the world’s poorest countries or in conflict areas, Solberg says.