Norway's global education commitments – 2013 perspective

I have just returned from a short visit to Norway to join a discussion at the Norwegian Association of  Folk High Schools annual conference in Molde (set on a breathtaking fjord landscape with a view of 222 mountain peaks – yes 222!). The famous Norwegian folk schools offer an opportunity for young people to board and share time learning together about a wider world beyond their immediate academic education.  Their popularity has grown and the shared vision to see an interconnected world may go some way to explaining Norway’s strong stance and significant financial commitment (a full 1% of GDP) to international development.
The folk school debate on global education raised lots of issues familiar to GBC-Education members.  A keen discussion centred on the question of how to motivate and mobilise countries with high out-of-school numbers, and poor learning outcomes, to address their own challenges. Countries like Nigeria and India are well placed to contribute substantially but clearly need both incentives and a powerful catalyst to launch an accelerated drive to better education and learning for all their children. For external donor countries or private sector partners alike, there is a need to bring in assistance and/or investment. This firmly demonstrates that our economic interdependence and shared cultural ties bring us closer together when we share the burden of challenges – and a shared investment in a positive outcome has a benefit to everyone.