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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland

Secretary-General outlines four pillars to nurture future Commonwealth leaders

22 May 2019

The Secretary-General has outlined four pillars designed to nurture Commonwealth students into future leaders.

Patricia Scotland made the keynote speech at the Council for Education in the Commonwealth annual conference on May 22 under the theme ‘Our Commonwealth: A focus on student success’.

Speaking at the event in St George’s University, Grenada, she said: “Students who are educated to think creatively will have a distinctive advantage: they will be equipped to master new areas of knowledge.

"They will be able to collaborate across cultural and disciplinary boundaries and thrive in enterprises that have not yet even been invented. They will be at the forefront of innovation."

The Secretary-General took the opportunity to speak about the Commonwealth’s education programme, Learning For Life, designed to help governments respond to the needs of all learners but especially those students most at risk of multiple deprivations and vulnerabilities.

She then proposed four pillars towards a “common wealth” for Commonwealth students.

  1. Learning for life – with readily available skills-based training and higher education programmes that respond to market needs.
  2. Employment – as a focus for ensuring brighter prospects and widening opportunity within the global development agenda.
  3. Entrepreneurship – so that enterprise and innovation create employment and sustainable growth.
  4. Engagement – to encourage well-informed consultation and responsiveness to the needs and aspirations of all.

Host country Grenada was praised by the Secretary-General for recognising that it’s “youth represents its wealth”.

She highlighted how the Grenada economy is expected to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2018/19 and that strong activity in the education sector is partly to thank for this.

The Secretary-General also pointed to Grenada’s plan to establish a National Skills Development Institute and two new skills centres in 2019 as being “highly commendable".

She added that Grenada is an "ideal place" to consider how government and public and private sectors intersect with education and employment to open up opportunity in the 21st century.

The Council for Education in the Commonwealth is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary. This year’s conference is designed to explore the main challenges facing education provision across the 53 member states.