Malala Yousafzai to call for education investment at Oslo Education Summit

OSLO: As heads of state and education ministers gather this week for the Oslo Education Summit, student activist Malala Yousafzai is calling on world leaders to deliver on their commitments, and ensure that every child has access to 12 years of free, quality primary and secondary education.

Speaking tomorrow at the summit, Malala will urge leaders to invest an additional $39 billion annually to make this promise a reality. It is her first visit to Oslo since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Last year in Oslo I spoke of our historic opportunity to put an end to wasted potential and empty classrooms. And now, we must make a choice: to choose more of the same or to choose bold leadership to ensure that no girl is denied an education. Now, we must seize this opportunity and put a plan in action to ensure all girls can achieve at least 12 years of quality education, said Malala.

In May 2015, ministers from over 100 countries signed on to the Incheon Declaration in Korea, committing to provide free primary and secondary education to all children by 2030.

To guarantee twelve years of universal fee-free primary and secondary education will cost an estimated $340b per year through 2030. The current funding shortfall is $39b — equivalent to just eight days of global military spending.

The poorest girls get just three years of schooling because of a lack of will and vision by our governments. This is unacceptable. Leaders of the 21st century must deliver on their promises to invest in the future and start investing in books, education and hope, rather than in weapons, war and conflicts. said Malala

We will not stop. We will continue to speak out and raise our voices until we see every child in school.

In a paper published for the Oslo Education Summit, the Malala Fund — a non-profit co-founded by Malala and her father — presents clear recommendations for governments to finance full primary and secondary education for all children by 2030.

The paper calls on governments to increase the size of their often-low education budgets. Low and lower-middle income countries need to commit a minimum of 20 per cent of their national budgets to education. The current average is now 15pc.

Only education will unlock the potential of millions of my sisters and brothers — brilliant young minds who will become, if given the chance of quality primary and secondary education, the next great scientists, engineers or teachers or anything they want. Our leaders must have the same level of ambition for all children as they have for their children, no matter where they live, said Malala.

The Malala Fund argues that traditional and non-traditional bilateral donors should commit to meeting a target of 0.7pc of Gross National Income (GNI) in Official Development Assistance (ODA) and increase the share of aid to basic and upper secondary education.

For example, commitments to 0.7pc of GNI in ODA by the emerging BRICS and Arab donors, with just 10pc of total aid allocated to education, could raise an additional $13.3bn.

A further $20.3bn could be raised annually if seven non-EU traditional donors ─ Australia, Canada, Korea, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the United States ─ make and meet this commitment to 0.7pc of GNI in ODA, or in Norway’s case, its higher commitment of 1.0pc, and spend 10pc of this on basic and secondary education.

The Malala Fund is also calling on leaders to expand the mandate of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) for upper secondary education.

Expanding its scope to secondary levels would enable the GPE to mobilise additional funding needed to support 12 years of quality primary and secondary education for all, reaching an additional 266 million children in low income and lower-middle income countries by 2030.

The Global Partnership for Education has played a crucial role in increasing access to quality basic education across over 60 countries.

The Malala Fund welcomes leaders commitment to educating every girl and boy for 12 years through upper secondary education. If we are to make good on our promise, we must expand the funding mechanisms in place to achieve this goal, said Meighan Stone, President of the Malala Fund.

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