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Ministerial Statement: Commonwealth Recommendations for the Post-2015 Development Framework for Education

21 December 2012
Statement by: Commonwealth Education Ministers
At the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (18CCEM) in Mauritius, August 2012, ministers established a Working Group to develop recommendations for the post-2015 development framework for education. The recommendations would reflect Commonwealth priorities for education and would feed into the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and to the UNESCO Global Education for All Meetings.
  1. We, the representatives of the Commonwealth Education Ministers, gathered as members of the Ministerial Working Group on the Post-2015 Development Framework for Education at Marlborough House, London, 12-13 December 2012 to consider, from a Commonwealth perspective, the design and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for education, the Education For All (EFA) goals (the Internationally Agreed Goals – IAGs), and to make recommendations for the post-2015 development framework.
  2. The Ministerial meeting was chaired by the Minister of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius, Dr Vasant K Bunwaree, and attended by delegations from Bangladesh, Barbados, Cyprus, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda.
  3. We reaffirm the centrality of education to all aspects of development. Recognising the pivotal role of education in catalysing progress in other sectors, we strongly advocate that education should remain at the top of the development agenda with a prominent position in the post-2015 development framework, and in any goals adopted by the global community.
  4. We note in particular the crucial role of educational access, equity and quality to attaining global development goals. High quality, inclusive education is fundamental to achieving both democratic social progress and equitable and sustainable economic development. However, education is not only a powerful means to such ends, it is a basic human right and therefore of value in itself. All human beings deserve the opportunity to fulfil their individual potential, and should enjoy the capability to act as responsible, productive, confident and caring citizens. Education access, equity and quality should therefore be given strong emphasis in the framing of all goals.
  5. We acknowledge changes in the global development context, and that existing goals must be refined and new goals developed to respond to these contemporary issues. These goals should build on the strengths and achievements of the IAGs and, where there have been gaps, address them. We note that the process of developing our Working Group’s recommendations has been undertaken in an open and consultative manner, involving civil society as well as the governments of the 54 member states of the Commonwealth, accounting for over 2 billion people worldwide.
  6. We recognise that many member states have made good progress towards the achievement of the IAGs, but acknowledge that some member states will not meet the IAGs by 2015. This being the case, we strongly support a ‘final push’ to achieve the current goals by 2015. We also hold the view that the new framework must not exclude any goals which remain unachieved by 2015. We therefore advocate that the new framework include all major components of the existing goals.
  7. We are persuaded that, in designing the post-2015 framework, it will be important to lay as much emphasis on how the goals are to be achieved as on the targets.
  8. We therefore commit to:
    1. Upholding the Commonwealth understanding that education is the foundation of human development and participatory democracy, essential to inclusive economic and social progress, and a key factor in enhancing human capital.
    2. Reaffirming the centrality of core Commonwealth concerns of access, equity and quality of education as key elements in the architecture of the development framework.
    3. Building strategic partnerships among Commonwealth organisations and other stakeholders to advance education in the post-2015 development framework.
    4. Building on the admirable achievements of member states in making progress towards achieving the current IAGs, and ensuring that those gains are sustained.
    5. Assisting the process of developing the post-2015 development agenda, and ensuring that the new goals are framed and delivered in accordance with the core Commonwealth principles of access, equity and quality in all aspects of education.
  9. We recommend that:
    1. The two frameworks of EFA and the education MDGs (and/or their successors) be harmonised and aligned.
    2. The new framework for education should be calibrated at two levels with principal and subordinate goals.
    3. The first level, comprised of three principal goals, reflects the core concerns of access, equity and quality, covering: (a) access to quality basic education; (b) access to quality post-basic education; and (c) increased equity, and minimised differences in educational outcomes between social groups.
    4. The second level of subordinate goals recognises the importance of access, equity and quality, augmenting the proposed new principal goals, and focuses on: (a) early childhood education and development; (b) basic education; (c) secondary and post-secondary education; (d) non-formal education and lifelong learning; (e) participation; and (f) infrastructure.
    5. All goals address the issues of access, equity and quality, in their design and implementation, monitoring and reporting.
    6. Full consideration and sustained commitment of development partners (in terms of resource mobilisation, accountability, delivery mechanisms, etc.) should be given, in designing the framework, as to how the goals are to be achieved.
    7. The post-2015 goals should be universal, with contextualised targets and deadlines, where appropriate, that reflect national realities and that meet the needs of marginalised groups.
    8. The architecture of the framework should also reflect four cross-cutting themes across the goals: gender, education in emergencies, migration, and education for sustainable development. Key aspects such as learning outcomes; quality of teacher preparation, development and evaluation; effective school leadership and management; education and the environment; and technology for teaching and learning should be given higher priorities in the new post-2015 framework.
    9. Our recommendations be forwarded to the United Nations High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and other development partners.
    10. The leadership role of the Commonwealth be strengthened at the international and regional levels, with countries and partners advocating for the Commonwealth recommendations in the UN processes for developing the post-2015 development framework, including:
  • The Global Education For All Meetings
  • Global, Regional and National Consultations.
  1. Commonwealth networks be utilised to assist with the collection, analysis, dissemination and use of data on the indicators of the revised framework, supporting member countries to strengthen their systems and relevant databases in order to inform policy development.
  2. Our recommendations be tabled at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in November 2013, and requesting that the recommendations be adopted.
  3. Member states of the Commonwealth make every effort to mobilise technical and national and international financial resources to support the achievement of the proposed goals so that no Commonwealth country would fail to achieve the goals by 2025.