8th Meeting, Oslo, Norway, 16 to 18 December

The High-Level Group meeting is an annual event that brings together top-level representatives from government, development agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Its role is to reinforce political will in order to accelerate progress towards Education for All, strengthen partnerships, identify priorities and mobilize more resources. 

Participants at the High Level Group meeting on Education for All (EFA), organized by UNESCO and the Government of Norway, today urgently called on national governments to allocate at least four to six per cent of GNP and 15 to 20 per cent of public expenditure to education. 

In the Oslo Declaration, adopted at the close of the meeting, they also urged development partners to increase official development assistance and give priority to investment in basic education.

In the Oslo Declaration, adopted at the close of the meeting, they also urged development partners to increase official development assistance and give priority to investment in basic education.

Stagnation in aid commitments, which have left a funding gap of seven billion dollars annually, and a cut in the share of national income to education in some countries, are causes for serious concern and must be reversed, said the representatives from 39 governments including several major donor countries, intergovernmental organizations and civil society. This was especially critical in the current climate of economic global meltdown, they said.

The Declaration stressed that education “is one of the most effective tools” for achieving “economic growth and recovery, reducing poverty, hunger and child labour” and “improving health, incomes and livelihoods”. “Steadfast support” for achieving internationally agreed development goals, including Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals, is thus “even more vital than it was before the crisis.”

The Oslo Declaration also endorsed the creation of an International Task Force on “Teachers for EFA”, a voluntary alliance of EFA partners working together to address the global, and growing, shortage of teachers.

“Without adequate numbers of professionally qualified teachers, including female teachers, who are deployed in the right places, well-remunerated and motivated, adequately supported and proficient in local languages, we cannot offer the world’s children quality education” said the High Level Group.

An estimated 18 million new primary teachers will be needed in the next seven years to achieve universal primary education by the target date of 2015.

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