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We need a Commonwealth education learning alliance, says Fiji minister

20 February 2018

Fiji’s attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has called for the creation of a best practice toolkit to help Commonwealth member states. He made his comments on the eve of the official opening of the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) in Nadi.

"As Commonwealth nations, we all stand at our own levels of development, and we all have our own vision, priorities and agendas for the education of our students and young people. But whether we are small developing states or larger, wealthier nations, delivering on our agendas in education depends entirely on our ability to realise the sustainable development goals," he said.

"That is why one key outcome we hope will emerge from our discussions will be a Commonwealth tool kit for the effective management of quality education systems. This tool kit will help us tap into the resources and the knowledge base we’ve all developed as individual countries, particularly with regards to the management of our education systems.

“And with access to this wealth of information, governments can tailor the experiences of other nations to formulate policies that are most effective within their own jurisdictions."

Minister Sayed-Khaiyum also said there must be a virtual education repository, administered by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The idea would mirror the Commonwealth Office for Civil and Criminal Justice Reform (OCCJR), which was launched last July and assists member countries in delivering access to justice and sustainable development through the creation of fair and effective national laws.

“For example, if someone faces an issue regarding early childhood education, and wants to see how others have dealt with it, they should be able to get in touch with the Secretariat who looks after it.

“We need people to be able to access information fairly quickly, and help connect them to a solution.”

Students and young people, said the attorney-general, should be at the centre of policy discussions. Not only were they the beneficiaries of education, but they were among some of the most vulnerable members of society, he said.