Commonwealth launches key education publications

16 March 2012

Titles cover education in small states, the role of female teachers and inclusive and citizenship education

The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Education Section launched five new publications at its headquarters in Marlborough House on 13 March 2012 in London, UK.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said the publications will assist Commonwealth member countries towards the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015.

“As we embark on the new Commonwealth year with ‘Connecting Cultures’ as our theme, we are reminded that education is the key to fully understanding our own cultures and diversities, as well as those of others,” he said.

“It is by finding ways of opening up the joys of learning for all, and thereby enabling our young people to cherish and embrace the richness of opportunity offered by our Commonwealth family, that ‘Connecting Cultures’ will make a positive impact adding to the global good.

“Many Commonwealth countries have made enormous gains and many seem to be on track to achieving universal primary education by 2015. However enormous challenges remain.”

The Secretary-General noted that globally there are over 67 million primary school-aged children out of school, of whom 42 per cent, or over 28 million, are in Commonwealth countries.

In 16 Commonwealth countries more than a quarter of the population cannot read or write and in 17 Commonwealth countries half the population receives fewer than 6 years of education.

Mr Sharma said the Secretariat’s work on universal primary education has a special focus on the most vulnerable and each of the publications would play a part towards the internationally agreed goal.

'Connecting Cultures' celebrates the diversity of the 54-member Commonwealth and recognises the role the association plays in bringing together many different peoples around shared visions and values.

Visit the Connecting Cultures website for information on the theme, news, events, resources, and to share your plans for celebrating this year’s theme.

The five books which are now available to the public are:

Education in Small States: Policies and Priorities by Michael Crossley, which analyses how paying attention to the particular needs of small states and using flexible support strategies yields results by improving education retention, quality, equity and inclusivity.

Women and the Teaching Profession: Exploring the Feminisation Debate by Fatimah Kelleher draws on experiences in Dominica, India, Lesotho, Samoa and Sri Lanka, to provide a strong analytical understanding of the role of female teachers in the developing world.

Implementing Inclusive Education: A Commonwealth Guide to Implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (Second Edition) by Richard Rieser can aid member states towards meeting the needs of every child and young person with disabilities to access an education system.

Citizenship Education in Commonwealth Countries by Tristan McCowan looks at the role of citizenship education, which aims to develop the capacity of citizens to participate in the political sphere so they can better understand and defend their own rights and the rights of others.

Education of Children with Albinism in Malawi: A Final Report by Paul Lynch and Patricia Lund is a result of a pilot study into the education of pupils with albinism in Malawi and was co-funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat and Sightsavers – the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind.