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Lessons for Oslo

As the world prepares to agree to the Sustainable Development Goals that will guide development efforts for the next 15 years, there is a growing recognition of the degree to which the development agenda depends on education. The upcoming education summit in Oslo reflects that recognition.

WASHINGTON, DC – World leaders who care passionately about education will soon gather in Oslo for a summit, convened by Norway’s government, to discuss the educational needs of the world’s poorest children. This is a pivotal year, when the world is deciding on the content and financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will guide development efforts for the next 15 years. And it is becoming a year of high-level focus on education. As it should be.

This renewed focus on education partly reflects the world’s shock at recent attacks on education, including the Pakistani Taliban’s shooting of Malala Yousafzai and the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram’s kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria. If these girls can show so much bravery in seeking an education, surely the international community can do more to make sure they succeed in obtaining one.

But there are more good reasons why education should rise to the top of the global development agenda. Most notably, the world must recognize how great the educational needs are, gain a more sophisticated understanding of how the development agenda relies on education, and ensure a growing capability to respond.

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