Fifty-four Education Ministers are among top policymakers expected to gather in Nairobi, Kenya, for the 21st Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) from Wednesday to Thursday this week.
Hosted by the Government of Kenya in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and Kenya’s Ministry of Education, the high-level conference will take place under the theme, ‘Rethinking Education for Innovation, Growth and Sustainability post-Covid-19’.
Its main objective is to discuss key education priorities within the 54-member Common wealth geared towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The conference will bring together ministers, senior government officials, educators, development partners, civil society, and policymakers to share knowledge and good practices in education as the world recovers from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participants will also identify areas of action and explore innovative approaches that can be adapted by member countries to develop sustainable and resilient education systems.
“Over the last two years, we have seen COVID-19 rob people around the world of their loved ones, livelihoods and so many of the usual certainties and comforts of everyday life. Its impact on young people has been especially distressing with millions of students seeing their education disrupted – schools and universities were closed, and students were forced to learn from home as a result of lockdown measures, which have also further exacerbated existing inequalities, especially among girls and marginalised communities,” said Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC said
He added that the pandemic has already taken so much from everyone and we must act now to prevent it from taking away the human right to education.
” The theme of the 21st CCEM is timely and reminds us that now more than ever, it is important that our Commonwealth family comes together to re-evaluate the status quo and work towards building a more prosperous and thriving Commonwealth for our young people. To this end, the Secretariat will continue working with member countries, stakeholders, and partners, as part of its commitment to advancing Sustainable Development Goal 4and strengthening education systems and policies across the Commonwealth. I commend the people and government of Kenya for their commitment to delivering a successful CCEM in Nairobi,” he added.
Incoming Chair of the Education Ministerial Action Group (EMAG) and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Education, Professor George Magoha, on his part said the COVID-19 pandemic brought education systems across the world to a near standstill with low-income countries being hit hard.
“With the future of our children and young people on the line, we need to work together to build back better and refocus on investing in inclusive and equitable quality education. We must build resilient education systems that can address emerging issues and withstand future crises as part of measures to minimise and protect learning from disruption,” he said.
With only eight years left to meet the SDG 4 of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, a key objective of the conference will be to review and assess the progress towards achieving this goal, at regional and national levels.
The conference will also assess the existing commitments and outcomes from the 2018CCEM in Fiji, and the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, to leave no one behind, with an emphasis on equitable and inclusive education and supporting marginalised groups. Some of these groups include young girls, and those from disadvantaged communities who are targeted through appropriate policies, advocacy and strategic partnerships.
For the first time, proceedings of this year’s conference will adopt a hybrid format with Ministers of Education invited to take part in the physical meeting in Nairobi, while those unable to travel to Kenya will participate virtually via an online platform.
Outcomes on policy proposals from this meeting will inform discussions at the upcoming CHOGM expected to take place in June 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda.