The Chair of a new Commonwealth group of education ministers has warned that countries are “still falling short” on outcomes for schoolchildren and students.
Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology for The Bahamas, was speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Commonwealth Education Ministers Action Group, which has been established to translate international commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, to practical policy action.
The Action Group is composed of Ministers from Fiji, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Namibia, Solomon Islands and the UK, as well as The Bahamas, and will provide strategic direction to ensure commitments made at the three-yearly Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers are delivered.
Minister Fitzgerald said that while there has been investment in technology such as computers in many schools around the Commonwealth, “there has not been a correlation between access to technology and improvement in academic outcomes”.
He said: “In spite of all these agenda items and targets we have set, we are still falling short with regard to outcomes. We know that is attributed to and can be traced back to quality.”
“We have to define what it means to have a quality education and what quality means for different sectors – for teachers and principals, for courses and the curriculum. That focuses us on the challenges that we face and putting the resources where they should be.”
The formation of the Action Group was agreed at the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) in The Bahamas, in June 2015. The inaugural meeting took place at the Commonwealth’s headquarters in London, Marlborough House, between 21 and 22 January.