Commonwealth ministers urged to harness digital tools for accelerated and inclusive education 

13 May 2024
Press release
Commonwealth Secretary-General speaking at the 21st Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers Meeting in Kenya

Education ministers and senior officials will converge in London for the 22nd Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (22CCEM) meeting from May 16-17, 2024. The meeting will discuss ways to further empower 2.6 billion Commonwealth citizens, with inclusive and equitable learning opportunities for all skill levels and life stages.

At Marlborough House, government ministers and senior officials will also exchange ideas about tackling uncertainties in education financing, explore partnerships, and discuss commitments and reforms. They will assess the current state of the education sector while creating a road map for accelerated progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4.

During the 22CCEM summit, ministers will deliberate on the strategic actions required to address education inequity, especially for young people, women, people with disabilities and those living in poverty.

Past efforts appear to be bearing fruit. The Commonwealth Secretariat recently released the Global Youth Development Index Update Report 2023, which stated that “more than two-thirds of countries worldwide showed an improvement”. 

Rethinking education: A timely meeting

Reflecting on the meeting’s theme, ‘Driving Resilience, Equity, and Skills for an Inclusive Future’, Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, encouraged ministers to eliminate the barriers that impede access to education and encourage lifelong learning.

She said:

"The sheer scale of what can be accomplished if we harness technology has changed the game for policymakers, educators and learners. For us to meaningfully empower Commonwealth citizens, in an increasingly digital world, it requires us to be bold in our actions and ambitions.

"We need to rethink education to support youth employability and empowerment if we are to deliver on promises made to 1.6 billion young people of the Commonwealth. We should also recognise that education does not end with young people. We share a responsibility to create and promote opportunities for lifelong learning".  

The 22CCEM meeting, which will be chaired by Dr Ezekiel Machogu EGH, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kenya, also resonates with the focus of the 2024 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa. It underscores the Commonwealth's commitment to collective action towards resilience, sustainability, and a shared future for this and future generations.

In support of the Commonwealth Year of Youth, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi will address the event and engage with delegates. He is a globally recognised leader honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his tireless crusade against the oppression of children and youth. Through multiple organisations, he has been working assiduously and advocating for improvements in child welfare for decades.

Speakers from UNESCO, the World Bank, the Commonwealth of Learning, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and regional bodies, including the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), will also address the delegates.

In the days before the 22CCEM, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) vice-chancellors summit will hold a series of strategic policy discussions. The newly formed ACU-led Commonwealth Higher Education Taskforce will advance the outcomes from these dialogues, which will feed into the 22CCEM meeting in the days following. 

In his comments on the future of higher education ahead of the ACU summit, the Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Prof Colin Riordan, said: 

“Ensuring inclusive, quality higher education for all will require collaboration amongst partners, institutions and governments that transcends national borders. Universities are at the forefront of driving solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges that define our time, through their pathbreaking research, teaching, and community engagement.

"At 22CCEM we look forward to continuing to highlight the pressing need for sustained and increased funding in higher education – an essential component for global sustainable development, strengthening our democracies, and lifting lives across the Commonwealth.”

During the meeting, the Secretary-General will also update the delegates on the various initiatives and work programmes the Commonwealth Secretariat implements to support member countries.

Key initiatives include: 

The event page for 22CCEM has more detailed information about the meeting and resources available for policymakers and educators. Through policy advocacy, technical assistance, including toolkits and frameworks, and its strategic partnerships, the Commonwealth Secretariat works closely with member countries and partners to strengthen education systems and policies across the Commonwealth.

See the 22CCEM photo gallery

Media contact

  • Ijeoma Onyeator  Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

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