“There are more than 30 million children in the Commonwealth who are still not in primary school. Our aim is to get as many of them as we possibly can into school, which is where they belong.” - Deputy Secretary-General Ransford Smith
14 December 2006
Commonwealth ministers agree to accelerate universal primary education, eliminate gender disparities at 16CCEM
Commonwealth ministers have agreed to speed up the attainment of Universal Primary Education, end gender disparities in schools, and strengthen the education sector’s fight against HIV and AIDS.
In an action plan announced at the end of the 16th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (16CCEM) in Cape Town, South Africa, on 14 December 2006, ministers agreed to train more teachers in order to attain Universal Primary Education, ensure professional development of teachers with quality as a key focus, and increase parental involvement in education and school-based activities.
Ministers reaffirmed that education was an inalienable right for all Commonwealth children and noted the critical role of education in an increasingly divided and insecure world.
“Leadership and governance are central to attaining quality education,” Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s Education Minister, said.
“Collaboration with partner agencies, the non-state sector and civil society organisations should be further strengthened for the good of all,” she added.
Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Ransford Smith hailed the conference as a “huge success”.
He stated that ministers had asked the Commonwealth Secretariat to provide regular reports on the progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in education-related areas, and to give priority to member countries at risk of not achieving the goals by 2015.
“Ministers are keen that we do all we can to help them within the timeframes set to achieve MDGs in this area. Some countries have made good progress in attaining Universal Primary Education, but those that have not will need significant support,” Mr Smith said.
“There are more than 30 million children in the Commonwealth who are still not in primary school. Our aim is to get as many of them as we possibly can into school, which is where they belong.”
The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to use distance learning to overcome barriers. They also agreed that transforming general education would involve reform of higher education which they saw as integral to their task.
Malaysia has offered to host the next education ministers’ conference (17CCEM) in 2009.
For the 16CCEM Communiqué, please click here
For the Message to CHOGM 2007 from Commonwealth Education Ministers 2006 click here