Day One at the Oslo Summit on Education for Development

Photo Courtesy of NorwayMFA/Espen Røst.

Seven weeks after world leaders, nongovernmental organizations, and business leaders met in Incheon for the World Education Forum, the Oslo Summit on Education for Development has finally arrived. In the countdown to September’s UN General Assembly in which the official adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals will take place, Oslo represents the second-to-last high-level gathering for education — the culmination of which will ultimately fine tune how universal education will be achieved.

Day one of the two-day summit created space for the business community and civil society to participate. In collaboration with civil society, the Telenor Group sponsored a side event today that focused on leveraging innovative solutions for closing the education gap and ensuring education in emergencies. Peter Vesterbacka, creator of the Angry Birds game from GBC-Education #smartinvestment Network member Rovio Entertainment Ltd., moderated a session on how the explosion of digital technologies might increase access to education for the world’s most vulnerable children. The GBC-Education Global Education Platform, for instance, seeks to address the need for local education content for the most marginalized with the development of a writing contest — at least at initially — that will allow users to discover and create content via an online platform.

Driving home how such companies can continue to fill education voids across the globe, Jon Baksaas, CEO of the Telenor Group, called on business leaders to embrace the state of the “global classroom,” connected by increasing mobile and online access. Virtual classrooms, he said, are the key to delivering productive, modern learning experiences to remote classrooms. GBC-Education member, Microsoft, was also represented on the panel via its Minecraft Education Initiative. Minecraft — a game that uses blocks for building developed by the Swedish company Mojang — has proven to be a valuable tool for teachers and instruction in iSTEAM (immersive Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Architecture, and Mathematics). Last week, Microsoft launched a portal for teachers to discuss the game.

Next up: An invite-only session will take place among world leaders tomorrow. Watch the livestream here: