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New Ways to Finance Education

The world is about to set itself the goal of giving every child access to pre-primary, primary, and secondary education by 2030. Despite the vital importance of the target, achieving it will be difficult – not least because there is an intensifying funding crisis within the aid community.

LONDON – Norway, under the leadership of Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Foreign Minister Børge Brende, will soon host a summit on education for development with one simple aim: to bolster global cooperation on education. The hope is that the summit, which United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend, will improve the world’s chances of meeting the goal, featured in the upcoming post-2015 development agenda, that every child have access to pre-primary, primary, and secondary education by 2030.

We have a long way to go. While over 40 million more children are in school today than in 2000, 58 million primary-age and 63 million secondary-age children remain out of school, with about half of the world’s out-of-school primary-age children in conflict- and crisis-affected countries. Indeed, there are more child refugees than at any time since World War II. Girls face a particularly difficult challenge, because they must struggle to gain the right to an education, even as the fight against child marriage, child labor, and the trafficking of women and girls is yet to be won.

Progress will not be easy – not least because there is an intensifying funding crisis within the aid community. Although overseas development aid increased by 9% from 2010 to 2013, aid for basic education fell by 22%, from an already-low $4.5 billion to $3.5 billion.

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