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School’s a drag… But Oslo knows we need it

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It seems like when you’re going through school, whether it be primary or secondary, you wish you were doing ANYTHING else right at that moment.

Once you leave school, you realise how beneficial it was… Some even wish they could relive their elementary school, high school or college years.

Many children around the world are unable to enjoy an education, the benefits it brings and opportunities it provides. That is why Kweku Mandela, filmmaker, activist and Global Citizen Ambassador (AKA - an awesome person), attended the Oslo Summit on Education for Development in Norway on July 6th and 7th.

This summit, organised by the Norwegian government, was a meeting of the minds of some of the greatest and most influential people in education including Malala and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

With 58 million children still left out of education worldwide, Mandela called on the leaders of donor countries to step up to finance universal education. Last year, at the Global Partnership for Education Replenishment Conference in Brussels, the world’s countries renowned for their healthy economy, such as the US and the UK, pledged a mere $2.1 billion. Comparatively, developing countries, such as Kenya and Vietnam, pledged a whopping $26 billion. This difference is shocking.

What’s worse is the amount ACTUALLY required to fill the financing gap to ensure every child can receive 12 years of quality education is $39 billion per year. The world is a fair way off our target.  Mandela pointed out the great improvement over the past two decades in bringing universal access of education to millions of children. “This is what is possible when the global community acts with urgency and common humanity,” he stated. While the pledges of the past have been beneficial, they are still not adequate to make this issue a topic of the past.

school's-a-drag2.jpgImage: Hashoo Foundation

Why do we care so much about education?

The immortal words of Kweku Mandela’s grandfather, Nelson Mandela, ring true in response to this question.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

That’s great, but what does that mean?

An education can teach children about many other aspects of life to relieve the injustice of  poverty. For instance, girls who receive education can learn about access to maternal health care, improving overall health. Schools can also educate their students on how to prevent the transmission of HIV and other communicable diseases. Children can be educated to become critical thinkers when it comes to developing ideas for sustainability. And, of course, education can lead to more employment opportunities as well.

During the Summit, Mandela also urged people to take part in the 01 Second March for Girls & Women, a digital march run by Global Citizen. Thousands of people have committed to march, calling on donor governments to make the funding commitments necessary to put every kid into school for 12 years. This march is especially needed because girls make up 31 million of the total 58 million students who are missing out on an education, highlighting the gender inequality gap. Check out this video to learn more.

Click here to join the march to support girls and women. Education is the door everyone should walk through, and your voice is the key.