A new Commonwealth report could help put member states on track to ensuring every child has access to good quality education, Commonwealth expert Nasir Kazmi announced today.
The intergovernmental organisation’s Status Update Report on Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), the education goal agreed by 193 nations in 2015, will map out progress made by individual countries in providing inclusive and equal learning opportunities to all citizens.
“Our sad and shocking reality is that about 263 million children and youth, 61 million of whom are of primary school age, are not being educated. So, despite progress made in the last few decades, we have a mammoth task before us to get to a place where every single child, regardless of where they live, their immigration or economic status, or whether or not they have a disability, has access to education. And it is not just about children, illiterate adults and those wishing to further their education must be catered for,” said Mr Kazmi.
He added, “It is critical then that we help each country to do a stock take. How close are we to our education goals? How can we fill gaps in our policies? Do we need to revise our education budgets? These are some of the burning questions we hope to help our member countries to consider and find answers to at the conclusion of this project.”
The initiative, Mr Kazmi said, will be presented at the upcoming 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (20CCEM), which will be hosted by the Fiji government next February. During the meeting, every country will be offered statistics and an analysisis of their progress made towards SDG4.The Commonwealth will also finalise its Education Policy Framework (CEPF), which Pacific islands have welcomed.
Speaking at a recent workshop on the initiative in Suva, Fiji, Releshni Karan, director of corporate services in the country’s Ministry of Education, said the CEPF provided clear direction and described it as “useful to the small Pacific Island nations like Fiji in achieving quality education that is on par with the rest of the world”.
Constance Nasi, Under-Secretary of the National Education Services, Solomon Islands, added, “Team Solomon Island was so fortunate to have participated in the CEPF workshop. We found the workshop very helpful, and the learning experience we gained will go a long way in informing the priorities of the next cycle of our National Education Action Plan.”
Telutu Fuakiga, senior education officer at the Ministry of Education in Tuvalu said CEPF informs the education planning and policy framework processes.
20CCEM will take place 19 -23 February under the theme Sustainability and Resilience: Can Education Deliver? Ministers of education will have the opportunity to meet with each other and with the hundreds of students, higher education leaders, civil society organisations and teachers’ groups expected to attend the Integrated Partner Forum.
At a recent planning meeting for the conference in London, Iowane Tiko, permanent secretary of Fiji’s Ministry of Education, stressed the importance of countries attending 20CCEM. His ministry, he said, is doing everything in its power to maximise attendance at the conference. Mr Tikko added that 95 per cent of small island Pacific states have already indicated their intention to send delegations.