Education Ministers from 52 Commonwealth countries have been invited to attend the 15th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (15CCEM) taking place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, on 27-30 October 2003.
'Closing the Gap: Access, Inclusion and Achievement' is the theme of the triennial meeting this year. Ministers are expected to focus on the need to ensure all children and young people have access to high quality education; that their education is fully inclusive; and that it enables them to maximise their achievements as individuals.
15CCEM will seek to generate tangible outputs in six action areas:
" Achieving universal completion of primary education
" Eliminating gender disparities in education
" Improving quality in education
" Using distance learning to overcome barriers
" Supporting education in difficult circumstances
" Mitigating the effects of HIV/AIDS on education systems
Ministers will attend an opening ceremony on the evening of Monday, 27 October which will include speeches by Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon and Jack McConnell, the First Minister of Scotland. The Edinburgh Communiqué and Action Plan is to be presented at a closing press conference on Thursday, 30 October.
Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen will give the keynote speech at an innovative joint opening session linking Ministers with the opening sessions of the Parallel Symposium and of the Youth Summit. Other highlights will include the launch of the Commonwealth Centre for Education and the launches of new educational initiatives by the UK Government and the Commonwealth of Learning.
The Parallel Symposium is organised by the British Council and will bring together a wide range of Commonwealth educators to address the technical aspects of the topics being discussed by Ministers as well as delivery, diversity and leadership. The Parallel Symposium delegates will join one of the Ministers' sessions where they will discuss the six action areas in round table groups and will report back on their discussions to Ministers in one of the last sessions of 15CCEM.
Two Youth Delegates aged 18 - 23 from every country attending the Ministerial meeting will attend the first ever Education Youth Summit of the Commonwealth. They will debate the same education issues as the Ministers and make contributions for consideration by Ministers and possible inclusion in the final document of 15CCEM - the anticipated Edinburgh Communiqué and Action Plan.
Additionally, a showcase of best practice providing a focus of best practices in teaching and learning will run throughout 15CCEM.
15CCEM is organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the UK Government and involves the Scottish Executive, the British Council, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the City of Edinburgh Council, the UK Department for Education and Skills, the Welsh Assembly Government, the UK Department of Education Northern Ireland, the UK Department for International Development and the Commonwealth of Learning among others.
15CCEM builds upon the agreements and decisions taken in earlier such meetings (the last held in 2000 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada). As is customary, ministerial executive sessions are closed to the media.
For further information, visit www.15ccem.com
Media wishing to cover the Education Ministers Meeting in Edinburgh should complete the attached accreditation form and return it to the Communications and Public Affairs Division (CPAD), Commonwealth Secretariat, no later than Thursday October 16, 2003. You must be accredited in order to have access to the media facilities.
Media accreditation is the responsibility of the Commonwealth Secretariat, London. Applications for accreditation must be made on the attached form or on photocopies made from it. One passport sized photograph must be included with the application. Your application must be accompanied by a hardcopy letter on an original company letterhead indicating your role, signed by an Education Editor, News Editor or equivalent senior editor, confirming the applicant has been assigned to cover 15CCEM.
For information please contact:
Mr James Robertson Tel: +44 20 7747 6379
Deputy Director Fax: +44 20 7839 9081
Communications and Public Affairs Division e-mail: email@example.com
London SW1Y SHX 2/5
Media entering the UK must be in possession of a valid passport. Commonwealth nationals from the following countries currently require a visa to enter the UK: Bangladesh, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Fiji Islands, The Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritius, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia. Those from British Overseas Territories are advised to check requirements with the UK Government. Application should be made to the nearest British High Commission and necessary time allowed for processing. Applicants will need to submit their passport. Please check with the UK Government customs procedures for bringing in equipment.
A Media Centre will be set up in the Scottish Widows office on Morrison Street, across the road from the main entrance of the EICC. A general work area will be provided in the Media Centre for journalists and broadcasters. The work area will be equipped with work desks, PCs with internet access, fax, printers, telephones and power points for media bringing their own laptop computers.
The Media are required to book and pay for their own accommodation independently. Details of hotels in Edinburgh can be found at the official website of Scotland's National Tourism Board: www.visitscotland.com
Edinburgh International Airport is one hour's flight from any main London airport (Heathrow, Gatwick or London City). The Airport is connected to the city centre by a regular bus or taxi service and the journey takes 25 minutes.
Delegates are advised to fly direct to Edinburgh International Airport, Scotland where possible, or transfer at any London airport or take a train from London Kings Cross or Euston stations.
Intercity trains depart from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley and take approximately 6 hours. The overnight sleeper train departs from London Euston at 23:30hrs nightly.
Heathrow Airport is approximately 45 minutes drive from the centre of London and can be reached speedily by both the Underground and the Heathrow Express trains. Gatwick Airport, 75 minutes drive from the centre of London, can be reached by taking the connecting express train (35 minutes) from Victoria station.
The UK Government will be responsible for registering journalists who have been accredited by the Commonwealth Secretariat after their arrival in Edinburgh and issuing media identity passes. Identity passes will be prepared in advance and be available for collection from:
(15 CCEM Media Centre)
69 Morrison Street
(further enquiries to Joanna Richards on 020 7287 2087)
Currency and Banking
Currency transactions can be completed at any branch of the commercial banks in Edinburgh. It is recommended that participants travel with currency/travellers cheques in pounds sterling. Opening hours of commercial banks are generally from 09:30 - 16:00 hrs Monday to Friday. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are available throughout the city. All major cards are accepted by most outlets. The unit of currency is pound sterling.
October is mid-autumn with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 17°C. The weather is changeable; it is therefore advisable to be prepared for both warm and cold weather as well as for rainy weather.
240 volts, using standard UK 3 pin square plug.
Edinburgh is on British Summer Time, one hour ahead of GMT, until Sunday 26 October when the clocks will go back one hour to GMT.
15th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (15CCEM), Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 27-30 October 2003
Application for Media Accreditation
Last Name: _______________________ First Name: __________________________
News organisation: ________________________________________________________
Contact or Mailing Address (if different from above):
Telephone: _________________________ Mobile/cellular: ______________________
Fax: _______________________________ E-mail: _____________________________
Category: o Journalist o Photographer o Camera Operator
o Technician o Producer o Other (specify) _______________________________________________
For Non-residents of the UK:
Date of Birth: ________________________ Place of Birth: ____________________
Passport Number: ___________________ Country of Birth: __________________
Expected date of arrival: ___________________________________________
Please send this form with a passport sized photograph by Thursday, 16th October 2003 to:
15CCEM Media Accreditation
Communications and Public Affairs Division
Marlborough House, Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5HX
Tel: +44 (0)20 7747 6379
Fax: +44 (0)20 7839 9081
For further information: http://www.15ccem.com