How to Write a Good College Application Essay

Here are some tips compiled from experts for writing that all-important application essay, which can often mean the difference between getting accepted — or rejected — by the school of your choice.

The essay is your megaphone — your view of the world and your ambitions. It’s not just a resume or a regurgitation of everything you’ve done. It needs to tell a story with passion, using personal, entertaining anecdotes that showcase your character, your interests, your values, your life experiences, your views of the world, your ambitions and even your sense of humor.

Emphasize volunteer work or other ways you’ve helped people or made your community a better place. It helps if the activity is related to the subject you want to study. For example, Christopher Rim of Command Education Group, which coaches students, remembers that one student who wanted to become a dentist set up a nonprofit and held fund-raisers to distribute toothbrushes, toothpaste and other dental products to homeless shelters. Admissions staff members want to know how your presence will make the college a better place.

Mention internships, summer courses, extracurricular activities or lab work that show steps you’ve taken to learn and understand your field of interest. That will help show you know the field you’ve chosen to study and are passionate about it.

Explain with knowledge and passion why you want to study at this particular college rather than at others. Tell why the school’s size, curriculum, social atmosphere, location, professors or history influenced your choice.

Correct spelling, grammar and punctuation are critical. Use grammar, syntax and writing with a level of sophistication that shows you’re ready for college. Never use text-style abbreviations or rude or profane language.

After the essay is submitted, check your email and voice mail daily to make sure you see and respond promptly to messages from admissions staff members. Many students check only texts and sometimes miss emails asking follow-up questions or requesting an interview.

Hafeez Lakhani of Lakhani Coaching summed up the essay this way: “Every college is like a dinner table. What will make you the most interesting contributor to that dinner table conversation? What will make you help everyone else have a more interesting experience?” A good essay, rich with anecdotes and personality, will answer those questions and stand out from the pile.

By Janet Morrissey


A few days before her high school’s homecoming game, a cheerleader in Hartford, Mich., allegedly executed a sophisticated plot in her bid for queen.

Police told TV station WWMT that the 17-year-old at Hartford High School wanted the crown so badly that she showed up to school with a clever, but illegal, bit of homemade homecoming swag: a dozen pot brownies.

In the weeks prior, the girl had been nominated as a finalist for homecoming queen. Police say she hoped the brownies would sway her classmates to cast the votes she would need to win the title.

The cheerleader gave goody bags to football players, a standard practice before games, according to Hartford police, but hers also allegedly came with the brownies and their dose of THC.

The ambitious teen’s maneuvering was uncovered around Sept. 26, when police say someone used an app to anonymously notify state authorities, who then relayed the tip to Hartford police.

School officials were able to retrieve two brownies in their entirety and the partial remains of a third brownie, Hartford Superintendent Andrew Hubbard told The Washington Post.

Hubbard said at least eight students face possible expulsion for their roles or reactions to the scheme.

“I’ve read about things across this country. It has not happened with anything that I know of in this area,” Hartford police officer Michael Prince told Fox 17. “I’ve been an officer a long time, and whenever you think you’ve heard it all, something just about daily comes up, like, ‘Wow,’ ” Prince said.

Unfortunately for the teen, her quest for royalty was unsuccessful.

Hubbard says she did not attend Friday classes after the alleged plot was uncovered and was barred from participating in homecoming ceremonies.

Police told Fox 17 that the girl has moved out of state since the incident, but said that criminal charges will be pursued.

As for the brownies confiscated by school officials, police say the baked goods will be sent to a crime lab for testing and analysis.

Source: Washington Post, by Herman Wong and T.J. Ortenzi


Forty-four teachers drawn from different schools in Delta state have completed the advanced teachers training programme facilitated by Chevron Nigeria Limited, Jewels of Africa Foundation and Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND). The capacity building programme held at Egbokodo, Warri, Delta state, was designed to help teachers upgrade their skills for effective dispensation of knowledge in a fast changing world.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the programme, Chevron’s General Manager, Policy, Government & Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn, said the training was the fruit of partnership with the Delta state government and Jewel of Africa Foundation who initiated the project and provided all the course materials as well as the instructors free of charge.

Brikinn who was represented by Mr Sam Daibo said apart from the capacity building for teachers, the oil firm also offer scholarship programmes for students adding that between 2007 and 2016 over 2,900 Nigerian students have benefitted from the NNPC/CNL joint venture national scholarship, while Star Deep, a Chevron company and its partners in the Agbami field have awarded over 16,000 scholarships for engineers and medical professionals since 2009.

He said there are several projects by the NNPC/CNL joint venture which are either ongoing or have been completed across Delta state.He added that through the global memorandum of understanding (GMoU) with communities around operational areas in Delta and beyond, more than N20. 6b had been spent to provide scholarships, new schools, medical and housing facilities, agricultural development and infrastructure improvements between 2005 

The Commissioner for Education, Chiedu Ebie who was represented by David Omijey, Chief Inspector of Education, said he witnessed the opening of the programme and had the opportunity of experiencing the workshop’s training robustness.

Omijey said the state government is ready to partner with firms like Chevron, which has contributed immensely to education development in the state especially in the area of scholarship and infrastructure. He said education was a capital-intensive project, which cannot be borne alone by the state government and urged other firms to emulate the laudable efforts of Chevron. The education chief also advised teachers who benefited from the training programme to see themselves as resource persons and to share what they have learnt with their colleagues.

Source: Guardian Nigeria


In this piece, Head, Education Desk IYABO LAWAL writes on the age limit imposed on potential admission seekers into the various public universities in the country. To many Nigerians, it is a retrogressive measure by the institutions that anybody under 16 years cannot become a university student.

At 14, gangly and shy, Tochukwu Nwafor had already completed his secondary school education. He was as tall as a 16-year-old. Following a successful outing in his West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), the sky was his limit. For a certainty, young Nwafor was precocious. His parents’ face had lit with pride and fulfilment – that their beloved son would likely complete his first degree by the age of 18. While they entered into the admission of a federal university in the South-East with grace, they emerged with grief. The verdict: the university would not accept Nwafor because of his age.

Elsewhere in the South-West, Mrs Edara Udoh was cursing under breath as she said: “Rich and influential people brought their children that are not even as old as my daughter for admission and they were approved. My daughter is 15 years old and they said she has to wait one more year to seek admission into the university. What kind of system is this?

“Is it a crime for my daughter to be brilliant and be ready to gain university admission at 15? Whatever happens to ‘catch ‘em young’? And we say youths are the leaders of tomorrow. Please, I am begging the university authorities not dash my hope and that of my daughter.”

Faith Oyende, Lagos State University’s best graduating science student in 2017 further illustrates the angst of those denied admission by Nigerian universities because of age. Twice, young Oyende was denied admission into a university because he had not attained the age of 16. She eventually graduated at the age of 21 having studied Biochemistry and graduated with a 4.68 cumulative grade point average, (CGPA), to emerge the best graduating student.

When asked about her story, she stated: “It is a long story. I actually wanted to become a medical doctor. But I was denied admission at the University of Lagos, (UNILAG), and LASU because I was not yet 16 years old. Having finished secondary school at the age of15, I wrote and passed the Joint Admission Matriculation Board Examination. But during post-JAMB test, I was told I must have attained 16 years on or before October 1, 2011.” Unfortunately for her, she did not turn 16 until January 1, 2012.

In September 2018, the issue of age limit for university admission seekers came up again when 15-year-old Orisheneye Okorogheye sat for the May/June 2018 WASSCE, made A1 in all his subjects and could not be admitted into the university, not a few Nigerians are wondering if the nation’s ivory tower are progressive and futuristic in their thinking regarding their admission policy.

Although the 16 years age limit requirement for university admission has no legal backing, it has become the gold standard for some universities in Nigeria, which had in their post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) advertorial stated that “candidates, who will not be 16 years of age by October 31, 2018, are not eligible and need not apply.”

It is little wonder that the brilliant youngster, Okorogheye, was stopped in his tracks while trying to apply to UNILAG despite scoring 332 in the 2018 UTME.
Said to be an indigene of Delta State from Warri North Local Council, Okorogheye graduated from Starfields School, Iju and he had wanted to study Neurosurgery at the university. A cloudy, retrogressive educational policy has momentarily beclouded that shiny ambition.

As of September 2018, the estimated population of Nigeria is about 200 million, according to the United Nations with an average of 17.9 years. Most of that is a young population, with 42.54 per cent between the ages of one and 14. There is also a very high dependency ratio of the country at 88.2 dependents per non-dependents.Against the backdrop of the statistics, education experts argue that the continued implementation of the age-limit policy is a waiting disaster. With more and more vibrant and precocious kids completing their primary and secondary education earlier than ever imagined in the past and the universities shooing them away, claiming that they must be 16 years old before they can be fit to learn at the ivory tower, the Nigerian government should not wait until many of these kids become despondent.

The Director of Studies at Starfields, Chris Eigbe, had argued that people like Okorogheye should be given a scholarship and admission into the university so as to achieve their dreams at a young age.Similarly, the Vice Chancellor of Caleb University, Prof. Ayandiji Aina, pointed out that children with exceptional performance should be given a waiver. According to him, using age limit to momentarily halt their academic momentum might not be good for the nation and the individuals.

Aina stated: “I think the law in place states that you have to be 16 years before you are allowed entry into the university. But I think there should be an exception to every rule particularly for exceptionally brilliant students.”

However, an education consultant, Mrs. Busola Adegbaju, thinks differently. She posited: “The national curriculum and age range should be followed as it is a yardstick for admission into any academic institution. At a certain age, a child is expected to exhibit some skills morally, intellectually, emotionally and socially. I can assure you that the standard of education should be maintained following the national curriculum that will produce a total child who will in turn face future challenges that may not be academic related.”

As the issue has become a recurring decimal, experts have called on the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to avert the looming disaster of wasting the brains of young, vibrant and scholarly youngsters. Three years ago, education stakeholders had engaged in spirited arguments – for and against – the age-limit admission policy by the universities. The age limit has become a norm with the exception of few universities admitting admission seekers as young as 14 and 15 years old.

For Dada Olanrewaju, a career guidance counsellor, the dynamic nature of contemporary society and the attendant globalisation are some of the factors responsible for the diverse changes witnessed along this line. Maintaining that 16 is still a reasonable age for a student to gain admission into a university, Olanrewaju, however, regretted that some parents and institutions have abused the policy.

“Globalisation has made students very smart in learning, due to the introduction of advanced learning gadgets, as well as the Internet. But it is not always advisable to allow students below the age of 18 into the universities owing to the fact that, most of them possess low Intelligent Quotient (IQ) and cannot meet up with the demands of the society,” he stated.

Arguing further, Olanrewaju noted: “Admitting students below the approved age could also lead to stress and mental instability. Some of these students are just not equal to the multi-tasking nature of life in higher institutions. We have seen a case at the University of Lagos where a student went berserk because his mental capacity was incapable of assimilating what he was learning and getting used to the way of life in the university.”

Adding another but familiar twist to the issue, an educationist, Adewunmi Peter, would rather accuse the elites of abusing the age limit in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions using their financial muscle. Peter claimed that 60 per cent of students below the stipulated age limit in different schools are children of the rich, whose parents could afford to spirit them through schools to acquire degrees at a tender age.

“However,” he said, “one thing they fail to understand is that these children are barely matured for some of the stages they find themselves. Nonetheless, the fast learners among them assimilate easily in terms of academics, while some of them are just unserious and end up becoming a bunch of nuisance. Yet, Peter admitted: “The good thing is that some of these students end up achieving their life’s ambition in good time, while their parents also put off the burden of funding their education quite early in life.”


Worried by the increased cases of violence and insecurity across the country, particularly in schools, the Nigerian Safe School Initiative has launched the ‘Safe School Year Awareness Campaign’.

The campaign according to the convener, Mr Oshunmakinde Adedayo, is designed to foster collaboration amongst academic communities, the government, civil society, religious groups, parents and students on how to work together towards creating schools that are welcoming, safe and inclusive.

Adedayo who lamented the security situation in Nigerian schools especially in the north east where students are not only killed but injured and abducted, said the campaign would step up actions on how to better protect Nigerian schools against all forms of violence and potential threats, which can endanger the objectives of education if no measure is taken.

Through the campaign, activities like training, community sensitisation and emergency preparedness drills are packaged to help prepare the academic communities for unforeseen challenges, awaken the courage of adults and children on school safety matters, and also coordinate the security of schools across the country as well as the communities in which they are located.

He said, “This campaign awareness is being envisioned by National Intelligence Department for School Safety (NIDSS), an arm of MYK Crime Control Services, in collaboration with Women Advocate for Safer Schools Network and other security agencies. It seeks to mobilise parents, policymakers, school officials, students and religious groups across the nation.

Purportedly, this initiative defines everyone’s role as per school safety matters, and ready to connect voices as against any anti-social behaviour within the school environment, and that of the security challenges confronting the society which children are the most vulnerable of.

“The goals of this campaign awareness is to educate the audience on the elements of school safety, engage all stakeholders in making more schools safer, and facilitate the development of strategic plans that will effectively address each school’s unique safety and security concerns. Intimidation, harassment, bullying, suicide bombing activities, kidnapping threat and other anti-social behaviors can serve as the foundation for lethal events in the future, if no serious action is taken, and it is consider now to be predictors of more serious crimes in schools and elsewhere.“From statistics, as of September 2006, there were more than 1.7million internally displaced persons in the state of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa which was most affected by Boko Haram insurgency.

“No child should have to worry about safety when in school. This initiative is not a cookie cutter awareness programme; it is a network of school-led, civil populace initiative and that share common belief on the importance of school and children safety. While federal, state and local partners have primary responsibility for the physical security at schools, through training, best practices guide, workshops, and table top exercises loaded under this initiative, we hope to foster a culture of preparedness in our academic communities,” Adedayo said.

Source: Guardian Nigeria, by Ujunwa Atueyi

Education is Fundamental to Development and Growth

Education is fundamental to development and growth. The human mind makes possible all development achievements, from health advances and agricultural innovations to efficient public administration and private sector growth. For countries to reap these benefits fully, they need to unleash the potential of the human mind. And there is no better tool for doing so than education.

Twenty years ago, government officials and development partners met to affirm the importance of education in development—on economic development and broadly on improving people’s lives—and together declared Education for All as a goal. While enrolments have risen in promising fashion around the world, learning levels have remained disappointingly and many remain left behind. Because growth, development, and poverty reduction depend on the knowledge and skills that people acquire, not the number of years that they sit in a classroom, we must transform our call to action from Education for All to Learning for All.

The World Bank’s forthcoming Education Strategy will emphasize several core ideas: Invest early. Invest smartly. Invest in learning for all.

First, foundational skills acquired early in childhood make possible a lifetime of learning. The traditional view of education as starting in primary school takes up the challenge too late. The science of brain development shows that learning needs to be encouraged early and often, both inside and outside of the formal schooling system. Prenatal health and early childhood development programs that include education and health are consequently important to realize this potential. In the primary years, quality teaching is essential to give students the foundational literacy and numeracy on which lifelong learning depends. Adolescence is also a period of high potential for learning, but many teenagers leave school at this point, lured by the prospect of a job, the need to help their families, or turned away by the cost of schooling. For those who drop out too early, second-chance and nonformal learning opportunities are essential to ensure that all youth can acquire skills for the labor market.

Second, getting results requires smart investments—that is, investments that prioritize and monitor learning, beyond traditional metrics, such as the number of teachers trained or number of students enrolled. Quality needs to be the focus of education investments, with learning gains as the key metric of quality.  Resources are too limited and the challenges too big to be designing policies and programs in the dark. We need evidence on what works in order to invest smartly.

Third, learning for all means ensuring that all students, and not just the most privileged or gifted, acquire the knowledge and skills that they need. Major challenges of access remain for disadvantaged populations at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We must lower the barriers that keep girls, children with disabilities, and ethnolinguistic minorities from attaining as much education as other population groups. “Learning for All” promotes the equity goals that underlie Education for All and the MDGs. Without confronting equity issues, it will be impossible to achieve the objective of learning for all.

Achieving learning for all will be challenging, but it is the right agenda for the next decade. It is the knowledge and skills that children and youth acquire today—not simply their school attendance—that will drive their employability, productivity, health, and well-being in the decades to come, and that will help ensure that their communities and nations thrive.

Read the full text of my speech to the Education World Forum here.


How Education & Training Affect the Economy

Why do most workers with college degrees earn so much more than those without? How does a nation’s education system relate to its economic performance? Knowing how education and training interact with the economy can help you better understand why some workers, businesses and economies flourish, while others falter.

As the labor supply increases, more pressure is placed on the wage rate. If the demand for labor by employers does not keep up with the supply of labor, the wage rate will be depressed. This is particularly harmful to employees working in industries with low barriers to entry for new employees, i.e. they do not have high education or training requirements. Industries with higher requirements tend to pay workers higher wages, both because there is a smaller labor supply capable of operating in those industries and the required education and training carries significant costs.

How Education Benefits a Nation

Globalization and  international trade require countries and their economies to compete with each other. Economically successful countries will hold competitive and comparative advantages over other economies, though a single country rarely specializes in a particular industry. This means the country’s economy will include various industries with different advantages and disadvantages in the global marketplace. The education and training of a country’s workers is a major factor in determining just how well the country’s economy will do.


A successful economy has a workforce capable of operating industries at a level where it holds a  competitive advantage over the economies of other countries. To achieve this, nations may try incentivizing training through tax breaks and write-offs, providing facilities to train workers, or a variety of other means designed to create a more skilled workforce. While it is unlikely an economy will hold a competitive advantage in all industries, it can focus on a number of industries in which skilled professionals are more readily trained.

Differences in training levels have been cited as a significant factor separating developed and developing countries. Although other factors are certainly in play, such as geography and available resources, having better-trained workers creates spillovers and externalities. For example, similar businesses may cluster in the same geographic region because of an availability of skilled workers (e.g. Silicon Valley).

For Employers

Employers want workers who are productive and require less management. Employers must consider many factors when deciding whether or not to pay for employee training.

  • Will the training program increase the productivity of the workers?
  • Will the increase in productivity warrant the cost of paying for all or part of the training program?
  • If the employer pays for training, will the employee leave the company for a competitor after the training program is complete?
  • Will the newly trained worker be able to command a higher wage? Will the worker see an increase in his or her bargaining power?

While employers should be wary about newly trained workers leaving, many employers require workers to continue with the firm for a certain amount of time in exchange for the company paying for training.

Businesses may also face employees who are unwilling to accept training. This can happen in industries dominated by  unions since increased job security could make it more difficult to hire trained professionals or fire less-trained employees. However, unions may also negotiate with employers to ensure its members are better trained and thus more productive, which reduces the likelihood of jobs being shifted overseas.

For Workers

Workers increase their earning potential by developing and refining their capabilities. The more they know about a particular job’s function, or the more they understand a particular industry, the more valuable they become to an employer. Employees want to learn advanced techniques or new skills to vie for a higher wage. Usually, workers can expect their wages to increase at a smaller percentage than the productivity gains by employers. The worker must consider a number of factors when deciding whether to enter a training program:

  • How much extra productivity would he or she expect to gain?
  • What is the cost of the training program? Will the worker see a wage increase that would warrant the cost of the program?
  • What is the  labor market like for a better-trained professional? Is the market significantly saturated with trained labor already?

Some employers pay for all or a portion of the expense of a program, but this is not always the case. In fact, the worker may lose wages if the program prevents him or her from working.

For the Economy

Many countries have placed greater emphasis on developing an education system that can produce workers able to function in new industries, such as those in the fields of technology and science. This is partly because older industries in developed economies were becoming less competitive, and thus were less likely to continue dominating the industrial landscape. Also, a movement to improve the basic education of the population emerged, with a growing belief that all people had the right to an education.

When economists speak of “education,” the focus is not strictly on workers obtaining college degrees. Education is often broken into specific levels:

  • Primary – elementary school in the U.S.
  • Secondary – middle school, high school, and preparatory school
  • Post-secondary – university, community college, vocational schools

A country’s economy becomes more productive as the proportion of educated workers increases since educated workers can more efficiently carry out tasks that require literacy and critical thinking. However, obtaining a higher level of education also carries a cost. A country doesn’t have to provide an extensive network of colleges or universities to benefit from education; it can provide basic literacy programs and still see economic improvements.

Countries with a greater portion of their population attending and graduating from schools see faster economic growth than countries with less-educated workers. As a result, many countries provide funding for primary and secondary education to improve economic performance. In this sense, education is an investment in  human capital, similar to an investment in better equipment. According to UNESCO and the United Nations Human Development Programme, the ratio of the number of children of official secondary school age enrolled in school to the number of children of official secondary school age in the population (referred to as the enrollment ratio), is higher in developed nations than it is in developing ones. This differs from education spending as a percentage of GDP, which does not always correlate strongly with how educated a country’s population is. Therefore, a country spending a high proportion of its GDP on education does not necessarily make the country’s population more educated.

For businesses, an employee’s intellectual ability can be treated as an asset. This asset can be used to create products and services that can be sold. The more well-trained workers employed by a firm, the more that firm can theoretically produce. An economy in which employers treat education as an asset in this manner is often referred to as a knowledge-based economy.

Like any decision, investing in education involves an opportunity cost for the worker. Hours spent in the classroom cannot also be spent working for a wage. Employers, however, pay more wages when the tasks required to complete a job require a higher level of education. Thus, while wage earning might be lowered in the short-term as an opportunity cost to becoming educated, wages will likely be higher in the future, once the training is complete.

Cobweb Model: Since training and education take time to complete, shifts in the demand for particular types of employees have different effects in the long and short term. Economists demonstrate this shift using a cobweb model of labor supply and labor demand. In this model, the supply of labor is analyzed over the long term, but the shifts in demand and wages are viewed in the short term as they move toward a long-term equilibrium.

Figure 1: Short-term shifts in demand and wage rate

In the short-run, the increase in demand for better-trained workers results in an increase in wages above the equilibrium level (A). Instead of the increase being along the long-run labor supply curve , it is along the more  inelastic short-run labor supply curve (L). The short-run curve is more inelastic because there is a limited number of workers who have or are able to immediately train for the new skill set. As more and more workers are trained (B), the supply of labor shifts right (L2).

Figure 2: New workers’ effect on wage rate

With the increase in the availability of new workers, there is downward pressure on the wage rate, which falls from W2 to W3.

Because of the falling wage rate, fewer workers are interested in training for the skills demanded by employers. This pushes the wage rate up to W3, although the increase in wages is coming in smaller and smaller increments. This cycle of wage increases and labor increases continues until it has reached equilibrium: the original upward shift in demand meets the long-run supply of labor.

The Bottom Line: The knowledge and skills of workers available in the labor supply is a key factor in determining both business and economic growth. Economies with a significant supply of skilled labor, brought on through formal education, as well as vocational training, are often able to capitalize on this through the development of more value-added industries, such as high-tech manufacturing.

Source: Investopedia, written by Brent Radcliffe



Education Key To Development

A country’s economy becomes more productive as the proportion of educated workers increases since educated workers can more efficiently carry out tasks that require literacy and critical thinking. This has necessitated the increase of funding for education by some countries, in order to improve their economic performance

Børge Brende, President, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum, had these thoughts about education and development.

Education is a human right. And, like other human rights, it cannot be taken for granted. Across the world, 59 million children and 65 million adolescents are out of school. More than 120 million children do not complete primary education.

Behind these figures there are children and youth being denied not only a right, but opportunities: a fair chance to get a decent job, to escape poverty, to support their families, and to develop their communities. This year, decision-makers will set the priorities for global development for the next 15 years. They should make sure to place education high on the list.

The deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is fast approaching. We have a responsibility to make sure we fulfill the promise we made at the beginning of the millennium: to ensure that boys and girls everywhere complete a full course of primary schooling.

The challenge is daunting. Many of those who remain out of school are the hardest to reach, as they live in countries that are held back by conflict, disaster, and epidemics. And the last push is unlikely to be accompanied by the double-digit economic growth in some developing economies that makes it easier to expand opportunities.

Nevertheless, we can succeed. Over the last 15 years, governments and their partners have shown that political will and concerted efforts can deliver tremendous results – including halving the number of children and adolescents who are out of school. Moreover, most countries are closing in on gender parity at the primary level. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to finish what we started.

But we must not stop with primary education. In today’s knowledge-driven economies, access to quality education and the chances for development are two sides of the same coin. That is why we must also set targets for secondary education, while improving quality and learning outcomes at all levels. That is what the Sustainable Development Goal on education, which world leaders will adopt this year, aims to do.

Addressing the fact that an estimated 250 million children worldwide are not learning the basic skills they need to enter the labor market is more than a moral obligation. It amounts to an investment in sustainable growth and prosperity. For both countries and individuals, there is a direct and indisputable link between access to quality education and economic and social development.

Likewise, ensuring that girls are not kept at home when they reach puberty, but are allowed to complete education on the same footing as their male counterparts, is not just altruism; it is sound economics. Communities and countries that succeed in achieving gender parity in education will reap substantial benefits relating to health, equality, and job creation.

All countries, regardless of their national wealth, stand to gain from more and better education. According to a recent  OECD report, providing every child with access to education and the skills needed to participate fully in society would boost GDP by an average 28% per year in lower-income countries and 16% per year in high-income countries for the next 80 years.

Today’s students need “twenty-first-century skills,” like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and digital literacy. Learners of all ages need to become familiar with new technologies and cope with rapidly changing workplaces.

According to the International Labour Organization, an additional 280 million jobs will be needed by 2019. It is vital for policymakers to ensure that the right frameworks and incentives are established so that those jobs can be created and filled. Robust education systems – underpinned by qualified, professionally trained, motivated, and well-supported teachers – will be the cornerstone of this effort.

Governments should work with parent and teacher associations, as well as the private sector and civil-society organizations, to find the best and most constructive ways to improve the quality of education. Innovation has to be harnessed, and new partnerships must be forged.

Of course, this will cost money. According to UNESCO, in order to meet our basic education targets by 2030, we must close an external annual financing gap of about $22 billion. But we have the resources necessary to deliver. What is lacking is the political will to make the needed investments.

This is the challenge that inspired Norway to invite world leaders to Oslo for a Summit on Education for Development, where we can develop strategies for mobilizing political support for increasing financing for education. For the first time in history, we are in the unique position to provide education opportunities for all, if only we pull together. We cannot miss this critical opportunity.

To be sure, the responsibility for providing citizens with a quality education rests, first and foremost, with national governments. Aid cannot replace domestic-resource mobilization. But donor countries also have an important role to play, especially in supporting least-developed countries. We must reverse the recent downward trend in development assistance for education, and leverage our assistance to attract investments from various other sources. For our part, we are in the process of doubling Norway’s financial contribution to education for development in the period 2013-2017.

Together, we need to intensify efforts to bring the poorest and hardest to reach children into the education system. Education is a right for everyone. It is a right for girls, just as it is for boys. It is a right for disabled children, just as it is for everyone else. It is a right for the 37 million out-of-school children and youth in countries affected by crises and conflicts. Education is a right regardless of where you are born and where you grow up. It is time to ensure that the right is upheld.