Youth letter to Norwegian Parliamentarians: You promised us a better tomorrow
6th grade students share a desk at Vincent Town Public School, Liberia. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch

As voters, advocates for education and young people from around the world we are writing this joint letter to express our deep concern and disappointment about Norway breaking its pledge for education.

At the Global Education Summit in July 2021, we and the world praised and applauded Norway for its leadership and commitment to global education.

You seized the once-in-a-generation opportunity to help transform education. By pledging NOK 3.7 billion over the next five years to the Global Partnership for Education, Norway would have made a significant contribution to equipping children with the most powerful tools they need to serve their communities: knowledge and skills.

With Norway’s ambitious pledge, the world’s commitment to educate more young people was well within reach. It would have contributed to getting 175 million girls and boys to learn.

But that is not all. An investment in GPE is also an effective multiplier to each of Norway’s foreign policy priorities – generating a legacy and impact for generations. Strong education systems boost economies; drive gender equality and help build more inclusive societies; promoting health, nutrition, and well-being; and building resilience against shocks from climate change, conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regardless of the potential, however, we must not only measure the value of education in terms of opportunities, rationales and economic prospects. After all, education and attending school is an unconditional human right and explicitly does not require anything in return.

Today, we are very disappointed to learn that the new Norwegian government plans to fall short of the standard the country has set so far. This cut is unacceptable. Cutting funding for children in the world's lowest-income countries - girls, children with disabilities, and the most marginalized - is a misguided approach. As millions of children are out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to build back better, and not to step away from responsibility. These children need education to build a better tomorrow, for themselves, their families and the future of our planet.

If Norway breaks its promise, and halves its pledge, 2.4 million children will miss out on having trained teachers, 3,445 fewer classrooms will be built and 22 million textbooks will  not reach learners. That’s equivalent to almost half of the population of Norway missing out on the chance to reach their full potential.

We cannot accept this, as young people, from Norway, to Nigeria and Nepal, we are the lucky ones, we have completed our education, and it has changed our lives, and those of our families and communities.

As the next generation faces the impacts of a rapidly changing climate, a global pandemic, and enduring global poverty and hunger, education is key to truly help them to deal with the crises they are going to face. We must give them the tools they need to change the world.

Therefore, we appeal to your responsibility and your commitment to set standards and lead progress. Do not take away the key from our brothers and sisters to realize themselves and to add value to their respective communities. Keep your promise to the Global Partnership for Education, remain a reliable partner we can count on and do not let hundreds of millions of children down.

Yours sincerely,

  • Angel Warira, Kenya
  • Anthony Were, Kenya
  • Armel Azihar sly-vania, Comoros
  • Ashlegh Pfunye, Zimbabwe
  • Ayesha Farah, UK
  • Bridget Akurut, Uganda
  • Cynthia Nyongesa, Kenya
  • Diana Ayala, Honduras
  • Duong Phuong AnhAnh, Viet Nam
  • Fatu Sewanatu Mansaray, Sierra Leone
  • Felize Weckner, Germany
  • Hiyona Otake, Japan
  • Jacob Blasius, Denmark
  • Josephine Kamara, Sierra Leone
  • Kamilla Elisabeth Engebretsen, Norway
  • Martine Billing, Norway
  • Maryam Rehman, Canada
  • Maryjacob Okwuosa, Nigeria
  • Mukthar Halilu Modibbo, Nigeria
  • Nivaal Rehman, Canada
  • Ola Abagun, Nigeria
  • Ruszlan Biwoino, Germany
  • Selina Nkoile, Kenya
  • Shradha Koirala, Nepal
  • Sikemi Okunrinboye, UK/Nigeria
6th grade students share a desk at Vincent Town Public School, Liberia. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch

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