Education is a fundamental human right underpinning the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment, and is strongly linked to economic and societal development. Since 1990, the international community has succeeded in halving the number of children who are out of school. Still, in today’s world, 59 million children remain without access to basic education and 63 million adolescents do not attend secondary school. This obstacle is acknowledged in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Despite the many remaining challenges, donors’ political will to give priority to education has been dwindling. Development assistance targeted at education has declined since 2010, and the gap between needs and funding is increasing. The percentage of Norwegian aid channeled to education fell from 13.3 % in 2005 to 7.2 % in 2013. In an effort to reverse this trend, the Norwegian Government launched a renewed focus on education in its foreign and development policy, and aims at mobilizing strong and renewed global political commitment to reach the children and adolescents who are still being denied their right to education.
The Government aims to double its annual development aid targeted at education during the parliamentary period 2013–2017. For the budget year 2016, the amount of funding allocated for education is approximately 2.9 million NOK, around 60 % of which is channeled through multilateral institutions such as UNICEF and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).