Norway’s Prime Minister makes the case for lifelong learning

13 February 2019

Lifelong learning is a right not a privilege, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told delegates at a key international conference this week.

Speaking at the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Lillehammer Lifelong Learning Summit, she set out an ambitious vision for lifelong learning, based on the notion of lifelong learning as a human right. Flexible learning solutions were needed to facilitate lifelong learning for all, she said, and were essential to the development of inclusive and sustainable societies.

'We cannot accept that people become outdated,’ Ms Solberg explained. ‘Continuous education is important in a time of major changes in the way we work. Many people will have changed jobs and even careers as a result of digitalisation in society. Both in order to keep the competitive edge and to prevent anyone from being excluded from work life, it is important to succeed in lifelong learning.’

Norway is one of the lead countries in delivering the Education 2030 Agenda, and is a long-time supporter of both UNESCO’s and UIL’s work on lifelong learning.

‘Norway’s support for this agenda is hugely important and is one of the mainstays of UIL’s work,’ said UIL Director David Atchoarena, who was also a keynote speaker at the event. ‘It is encouraging therefore to see the Prime Minister setting out such a bold and farsighted vision for lifelong learning in her country.

‘As I said in my presentation, lifelong learning is a tool not only for ensuring education for all, but also for ending hunger, establishing gender equality and meeting the other Sustainable Development Goals. But, of course, none of that will be possible without the high-level political support of Member States, and I am delighted that Norway is again taking the lead in this respect.’