Integrated Partners Forum of the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (20CCEM)

In February 2018 education ministers met in Fiji (19-22 Feb. 2018) to discuss solutions to some of the Commonwealth’s most pressing education challenges, including low enrollment rates in preschool, primary and secondary schools, low adult literacy and persisting gender disparities in education.

It was the first Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) since the global community adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The meeting gave education ministers the opportunity to agree on effective strategies to help individual countries achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 – inclusive and quality education for all.

The ministers shared knowledge and good practices as well as collaborate with other groups attending the parallel Integrated Partners’ Forum (IPF): Commonwealth student representatives, higher education leaders, civil society organizations and teachers’ groups. Jamaica’s student representative was Odayne Haughton.

The Commonwealth education conference has been taking place every three years since 1959, when the first meeting was held in Oxford. It is the second largest meeting organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The theme for 20CCEM was Sustainability and Resilience: Can Education Deliver? It included three sub-themes:

• Education for sustainable development: Education as a key enabler for sustainable development – skills development and transitioning youth to decent work.

• Building resilience through education: Climate change and the curriculum – displacement and migration due to climate change and the challenges faced by small and atoll islands (including the role of education, traditional knowledge and local culture in building climate resilience).

• Education governance & management: Strengthening the teaching profession and school management – issues of quality and equity; financing of education; societal barriers (including drug abuse and internet/social media); and advocacy for education strategies across the SDGs.

Youth Advisory Committee member, Odayne Haughton (the Caribbean and the Americas Representative, Commonwealth Students Association), was invited & attended as a student leader to the Integrated Partners Forum of the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (20CCEM) in Nadi, Fiji – 19-22 Feb 2018