The 20th annual Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) is taking place in Nadi, Fiji on February 19-23, 2018 to give education officials from the 53 Commonwealth countries the opportunity to discuss key issues and trends in the sector, particularly in the context of climate change this year
The 20th annual Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) is taking place in Nadi, Fiji on February 19-23, 2018 to give education officials from the 53 Commonwealth countries the opportunity to discuss key issues and trends in the sector, particularly in the context of climate change this year.
Held every three years, this year’s conference is the first to be hosted by a Pacific Island nation and will involve a series of high-level meetings between Education Ministers and their delegations.
They will be joined by world experts, politicians, teachers, students and NGO representatives to make up the almost 480 strong cohort that will deliberate on the theme `Sustainability and Resilience: Can Education Deliver?’
In addition to the climate-centred 20CCEM, Fiji is also currently presiding over the United Nation’s climate change conference, COP23.
The outcomes of the education conference will be presented at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this April.
Fijian Prime Minister and President of COP23, Frank Bainimarama, said that the country was proud to be hosting the gathering and offered a fitting location in which to discuss the global climate.
He noted an `education revolution’ taking place in Fiji, with the government providing free schooling, textbooks and transportation to children and young people for the first time.
The reformation involves rebuilding schools damaged by Cyclone Winston in 2016, increasing access to higher degrees through an affordable Tertiary Education Loan Scheme, and restructuring a merit-based system for teachers.
All this is being done, said the President, with a focus on resilience and sustainability.
Running alongside the CCEM is the Integrated Partners’ Forum, where members of the Commonwealth of Learning, Association of Commonwealth Universities, Commonwealth civil society organisations, students and teachers will discuss the challenges facing member countries and in particular small states.
Issues on the agenda include the obstacles facing education, such as financing and climate change, and how to improve girls’ education and provide training to women and girls to enable them to find new sources of income.
These sessions will feed into the education conference and will give Commonwealth leaders and decision makers the chance to hear first-hand accounts from students, teachers and governors of universities on how to create a better education system.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “We can help plan for a common future that is fairer, more prosperous, more sustainable and more secure that will meet the needs of all, particularly our young people.
“These young people drive long-term economic growth, competitiveness, prosperity and social justice, if given the fair chance and opportunities to fulfil their potential.”
Professor Prajapati Trivedi, Director of the Economic, Youth and Sustainable Development Directorate at the Commonwealth Secretariat said: “We have made huge strides in education in the Commonwealth, but there remains a significant amount of work still left to do.
“While partnerships are essential, we in the Secretariat are leveraging this support by collective collaboration, an integrated approach which is focused on implementation.”
At the commencement of the conference, Fijian President Bainimarama said: “We look forward to continuing this progress, sharing our learning, and gaining new perspectives through collaboration with our fellow Commonwealth nations at this year’s event.”
Read More: A new framework on transforming educational opportunities in Commonwealth countries, the Commonwealth Education Policy, will be unveiled at the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Nadi, Fiji on February 19-23, 2018